Surgery is a scary thing, so when the procedure is complete it’s understandable that the patient and family members would breathe a sigh of relief. The time after a surgery, however, can also present dangers to the patient, especially if the hospital staff is less than vigilant in their duties. This was the case for a 24-year-old Texas woman, who died in the days following a surgery at the very hospital in which she worked.
The incident occurred in July of 2011, when the woman, a hospital employee, underwent gallbladder surgery. The procedure was a success, and she remained at the facility for recuperation, where she was given a number of painkillers into the early morning hours of the next day. A few hours after the medication stopped, she was found unresponsive. Hospital employees were unable to revive her. The cause of death was respiratory infection, presumably induced by the opioids she was given as painkillers. The family of the victim has since filed a lawsuit against the hospital, claiming that the hospital staff was negligent in their care of the woman.
According to the lawsuit, hospital staff did not check on the woman’s vital signs in the hours leading up to her death. Staff members say that they checked in on her multiple times, and found her to be sleeping and snoring. According to an affidavit signed by two doctors, however, snoring indicates a serious health problem for a patient in the woman’s condition.
Medical negligence is a serious threat to all patients, and it can be a factor at any point in the health care process. When health care providers fail to uphold the standards that the law expects of them, patients may be able recover damages. Though no amount of money can bring back this family’s lost loved one, perhaps the lawsuit will bring them closure for this terrible tragedy.
Source: OA Online, “Lawsuits filed in hospital, accident deaths,” Oct. 3, 2012