A Texas medical malpractice case was re-filed last week by the family of a 35-year-old woman who died three years ago from lethal doses of pain medications administered while she was hospitalized for lower back pain. The Texas wrongful death medical malpractice plaintiff is the surviving husband, who had been the chaplain at the defendant hospital. The wrongful death lawsuit was also filed on behalf of their two minor children.
The Alleged Underlying Facts
The woman had gone to the defendant hospital on October 5, 2011, with complaints of severe back pain. She was admitted to the hospital at that time.
A first-year family practice resident examined the woman with the anticipation that the patient would be discharged from the hospital the following morning. However, at 6:00 p.m. the following day, the woman was still experiencing severe lower back pain along with nausea and dizziness. Six hours later, the medical records indicate that the woman rated her pain a 10 out of 10, yet a nurse’s note states that the woman had no pain at the same time.
The first-year resident ordered that the woman be given morphine every four hours, as needed. The medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the nurse failed to properly document the patient’s chart, including the failure to properly communicate the worsening condition of the patient and the excessive amounts of narcotic medications that had been administered to the woman. The patient’s chart allegedly also failed to indicate the types of medications that were given or the times when the medications were given.
At 1:00 a.m., the nurse asked the resident to prescribe medication for the woman’s nausea. Thirty minutes later, the resident changed the order for morphine to Dilaudid.
At 6:53 a.m., the woman was found unresponsive – she was not breathing and she had no pulse. A Code Blue was called and the woman was given Narcan (Narcan is typically used to reverse the effects of severe narcotic-induced respiratory compromise). The woman was placed on a ventilator and never regained consciousness. Her husband, an ordained minister, had to make the difficult decision to cease life support for his wife.
The Texas medical malpractice lawsuit names the hospital where the treatment occurred as a defendant as well as the nurse (the resident was initially named as a defendant but was dropped from the lawsuit after it was determined that she was a federal employee entitled to immunity from liability).
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of medical negligence in Texas or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local Texas medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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