$24 million paid by a county to settle medical malpractice cases

Patients with various conditions routinely visit hospitals to have their conditions resolved or have a treatment plan. Most expect hospital staff take reasonable steps to ensure that the health condition is addressed adequately and competently. However, there are times when the healthcare staff may fail to take the necessary step during a treatment plan or surgery, and consequently serious harm, even death, might result from doctor errors and medical mistakes.

Medical mistakes can happen anywhere, anytime and New York and New Jersey residents are not immune to them. Recently, several medical malpractice cases totaling nearly $24 million in damages were settled by a county’s Health and Hospital System.

In one case, a toddler suffered irreversible brain damage after a common surgery. According to the lawsuit, after the now three-year-old toddler suffered cardiac arrest in recovery following surgery, CPR was not initiated until after his heart had stopped for nearly five minutes. As a result of the oxygen deprivation, he suffered permanent brain damage. In another case, a cancer patient was not treated properly for an infection, and, as a result of suboptimal care, underwent several amputations and eventually died. Another patient developed sepsis due to improper care, and later died from that infection.

All the cases above are tragic, and the trend of harm at the same hospital system is alarming. In general, healthcare providers have an on-going obligation to provide a reasonable standard of care. When a doctor, surgeon, nurse or other healthcare provider fails to take a necessary or reasonable step, and harm to the patient results, they may be held liable for damages due to their negligence. One may be entitled to medical expense, future cost of care, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium, pain and suffering and more.

The patient who has suffered direct harm or the family that has experienced the loss of a loved one may find solace in holding a negligent healthcare provider responsible. While a lawsuit may seem grim, it can be an important step in finding closure.

Source: Chicago Tribune News, “County could pay $24 million to settle medical malpractice cases,” Hal Dardick, Feb. 2, 2013