Those facing health crises can take comfort in the tremendous advancements in medical science over the past generation. These days, even the most complex medical procedures are often routine, and a recovery that used to require a week or more of hospitalization may now be an outpatient procedure. Nevertheless, in spite of advanced techniques, equipment and medications, human skill and attention are critical for a successful medical procedure. A doctor who is negligent may end up facing a wrongful death claim.
A 57-year-old man came to a world-class hospital in Florida for a coronary artery bypass procedure. This surgery requires patients to remain on a ventilator for a period of time during recovery. While the operation appeared to proceed without any complications, apparently the patient’s ventilator became disconnected at some point after the surgery as they transferred him from the operating table to a bed.
Who is responsible?
The man may have been without ventilation as long as nine minutes without his medical team noticing. His heart rate slowed, and he went into cardiac arrest. The lack of oxygen result in brain death, and the patient died sometime later. An investigation concluded that the anesthesiologist failed to make sure the patient’s ventilator was connected to the circuit and that the patient received proper ventilation while he was recovering.
Losing a family member due to an accident, medical mistake or other tragedy may result in long-term struggles, financial setbacks and other complications. Through a successful wrongful death claim, families often recoup damages, such as loss of income, medical bills, funeral expenses and the value of their anguish and loss. While this compensation cannot turn back the clock, it may reduce the suffering of those left behind after a tragic death.