$2.4 million malpractice awarded to family of mistreated patient

The standards of care provided by physicians, hospitals and staff members may not differ in quality when a patient’s surgery is voluntary. Cook County patients who undergo elective operations are entitled to receive the same attention, respect and care as patients who have emergency, life-saving surgeries.

What about doctor mistakes in busy hospital emergency rooms? The pressure is extreme high among doctors and nurses in facilities where immediate patient care is required. Medical mistakes happen during frantic, multi-tasking efforts by doctors, placing a patient’s health or life at risk.

A woman entered an emergency room in a Southern Illinois hospital in 2007, suffering from severe abdominal and back pain. A liability lawsuit filed on behalf of the patient’s family said the inadequate emergency care the patient received contributed to the woman’s death in a Carbondale hospital the following day.

The patient, a nurse at a mental health center, was suffering from a bowel obstruction. The 47-year-old woman had gastric bypass surgery two years before the emergency treatment. Bowel obstructions are among the long-term risks faced by people who have had the voluntary weight-loss surgery.

A jury in Williamson County found the defendants, an emergency room physician and his employer, liable for medical malpractice. The court ruled the defendants should pay the patient’s family $2.4 million for the losses they suffered due to medical negligence.

The patient’s family – a spouse, son and granddaughter – were awarded compensatory or actual damages. Punitive damage awards are not permitted in medical malpractice cases, under Illinois law.

Reports did not elaborate on what the defendant doctor did or didn’t do during treatment. Evidence of carelessness or recklessness was strong enough to secure a plaintiff-favored verdict after just two hours of jury deliberation.

The rushed atmospheres in emergency rooms are no excuse for poor patient care. Injured Chicago patients and families who’ve suffered needless losses are victims with rights to compensation.

Source: bnd.com, “Jury awards multi-million dollar verdict in medical malpractice case” Beth Hundsdorfer, Nov. 21, 2013

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$2.4 million malpractice awarded to family of mistreated patient