On September 11, 2015, a Texas medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit was filed by a young man’s family, alleging that his death was the result of a Texas hospital delaying life-saving treatment while the Houston-area hospital sought to establish who would pay for his medical care.
The man had gone to the Texas hospital’s emergency room seeking emergency treatment for his serious allergic reaction to medication that he had received earlier in the day but the hospital failed to provide the immediate care that would have saved his life, according to the family’s wrongful death lawsuit.
The 32-year-old man died on the day after Christmas in 2013 as a result of an allergic reaction to an antibiotic that his doctor injected into him earlier in the day, after the man complained of having a fever for several days. An autopsy on the man’s body confirmed that he had suffered anaphylactic shock, concluding that the man died as a result of “anaphylaxis complicating antibiotic therapy for acute pharyngitis.”
The family’s lawsuit alleges that the man was not provided emergency care for 41 minutes in the defendant hospital’s emergency room while the hospital attempted to determined who would pay for his medical care, and that the man was not provided epinephrine for an hour and a half, which would have counteracted his allergic reaction. The father of three died as a result, as alleged by his girlfriend who was with him when he died and by his surviving family.
Upon being advised of the family’s filing of the wrongful death lawsuit, the CEO of the defendant hospital contended that proper care had been provided to the man and that the incident did not happen in the manner as alleged by the family’s lawyers. The wrongful death lawsuit also names a physician as a defendant, who no longer works at the defendant hospital.
Anyone who has visited a hospital emergency room in the United States is aware that the hospital engages in serious efforts to establish who will pay for any services provided at the time the patient first makes contact with hospital staff. Even before the patients’ symptoms and concerns are addressed in the emergency room, they are asked about their health insurance coverage and are required to produce a health insurance card. While federal law prevents hospital emergency departments to refuse necessary emergency treatment to patients that appear in their emergency rooms, many people without health insurance are left with the undeniable impression that their care will be minimized, or they will be subject to longer wait times to be seen in the emergency room, simply because they do not have health insurance.
If the Texas hospital is found to have delayed necessary and life-saving medical treatment because it was determining who would pay for the care it provided, then the defendant hospital should be held fully liable for all of the injuries and harm that the delay caused.
If you or a family member were delayed emergency care, or not provided emergency care, that may have been due to the lack of health insurance coverage, and you or your family member were harmed as a result, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your patient dumping claim or medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a patient dumping/medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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