On May 13, 2016, a Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the Pennsylvania medical malpractice wrongful death plaintiffs and against the defendant hospital and radiology practice in the amount of $5 million, which included $1.5 million for the wrongful death claims and $3.5 million awarded for the survival action.
The Pennsylvania wrongful death lawsuit alleged that a feeding tube that was inserted into an 88-year-old patient was misplaced into the man’s lung instead of his stomach, that a radiologist misread an x-ray showing the medical error, and that the man died due to the medical negligence.
The 88-year-old patient had been a resident in a nursing home due to dementia and other medical issues. He was transported to the defendant hospital in November 2008 after experiencing fainting spells in the nursing home. Because he had no gag reflex and he could not swallow, a feeding tube was inserted shortly after he arrived at the hospital. The man removed his feeding tube, which resulted in the man being placed in restraints and a second feeding tube being inserted. An x-ray taken after the second feeding tube placement discovered that it had been improperly placed.
A third feeding tube was then placed and an x-ray was taken to insure proper placement of the third feeding tube. According to the Pennsylvania medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit, the radiologist who read the x-ray after the third feeding tube placement misread the x-ray and failed to diagnose that the end of the feeding tube was in the man’s lung as opposed to his stomach.
The misplaced feeding tube was not discovered before the tube feeding was allowed to continue for twelve hours, allowing the man’s left lung to fill with fluid. The man’s condition deteriorated and attempts to resuscitate him failed; he died less than one week after he was admitted to the defendant hospital.
The man’s family filed their wrongful death claim and survival action against the hospital and the radiology practice that employed the radiologist who misread the man’s x-ray. The radiologist who negligently misread the x-ray admitted his fault, according to reports. The plaintiffs’ medical malpractice attorney described to the jury how the man slowly drowned to death while he was conscious but restrained.
The defense argued to the jury that the man’s medical condition was such that he had a poor chance of survival even in the absence of the medical negligence. The Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury apparently did not accept the defense and returned its $5 million medical malpractice verdict that one of the defense attorneys described as “shocking.”
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury (or worse) due to hospital malpractice in Pennsylvania or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a hospital malpractice lawyer in Pennsylvania or a hospital malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your hospital malpractice claim for you and represent you in a hospital medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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