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Family wins malpractice suit 6 years after man died in hospital emergency room

Aug 16, 2012 | Hospital Negligence

A visit to the emergency room can be a frightening experience. However, New York City residents expect that physicians and nurses will care for them and treat them appropriately. Sadly, medical mistakes can cause devastating injuries and even death, as evidenced by one man’s visit to an emergency room in another state.

The man had suffered from asthma for quite some time. In 2002, he was having an asthma attack at his home, so he called 911 and was transported to the emergency room.

Upon his arrival he was given a nebulizer treatment and appeared to be improving. Unfortunately, he was left alone for 30 minutes the next morning and suffered a respiratory attack and went into cardiac arrest. He was left with permanent brain damage and was in a coma for four years before his death in 2006 at the age of 47.

The victim’s wife filed a lawsuit against the hospital for the man’s wrongful death. During the trial it was revealed that nurses failed to document the man’s medical history. If they had, they would have known that the man’s asthma attacks had landed him in the hospital before. On two different occasions the man underwent an intubation treatment.

In addition, staff at the emergency room failed to administer a "Peak Expiratory Flow Rate" test to determine how serious the man’s respiratory blockage was.

Recently, the victim’s family was awarded $7 million for the hospital’s errors and for the man’s untimely death.

A medical malpractice lawsuit is often appropriate when people have suffered harm at the hands of the doctors and nurses who treated them. New York City residents who believe they are a victim of medical malpractice would be wise to consult with an experienced attorney.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Family of man left alone in ER after asthma attack wins $7M judgment," Lisa Donovan, Aug. 1, 2012

Our firm deals with cases similar to the one discussed in this post. For more information, feel free to visit our hospital negligence page.