Medical mistake claims life of a woman after routine surgery

By Greg Kohn

The suggestion of surgical intervention as well as the thought of being hospitalized for recovery not only evoke understandable trepidation but also offer hope to patients. Most patients and their families take comfort in receiving medical care in one of the most advanced healthcare and medical systems in the world. However, despite this fact, preventable medical mistakes routinely occur that result in serious harm and even death.

Residents of New Jersey will find it interesting to learn about the results of a study stating that over 500 people die daily from preventable medical errors. For example, after a 65-year-old grandmother underwent routine knee replacement surgery, the family was informed that she would receive Morphine, Demerol and Viseral, two narcotics and one sedative, post-surgery. Even though the family requested she only be given Morphine if needed, the woman received all three drugs. When the drugs were administered, no one was monitoring the woman and she stopped breathing. The woman was resuscitated but passed away 11 days later. The family soon realized that their mother was administered too much pain medication and had suffered a preventable medical error.

The family turned the tragic loss of their mother into a mission to help other families and patients by publishing a guide that helps patients and their families ask the right questions and engages them in the medical care.

The untimely and unexpected loss of a loved one due to a medical mistake is devastating particularly when the loss is because of a preventable medication error which includes choosing the wrong drug, administering the wrong dosage and not monitoring the patient after administering it.

Healthcare providers have an ongoing duty to provide a reasonable standard of care. In the absence of such care, if serious harm or death results the healthcare provider may be liable for damages. Bringing a medical malpractice suit may not be the first thing on the mind of a grieving family. Nevertheless, a family may have their questions and concerns answered by consulting a medical malpractice attorney.

Source: KNDU, “Family Trying to Reduce Preventable Medical Errors After Tragedy,” Anthony Sanzeri, Feb. 19, 2013

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.