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Wrongful death claim filed over flesh-eating bacteria death


The sudden death of a loved one can be devastating for Oregon families. The hardship can be magnified if the loss was preventable and caused by a medical mistake. This is the unfortunate experience of one California family, who has filed a Wrongful death claim against the hospital where their loved one was killed by flesh-eating bacteria.

The victim died last year from the infection two days after she was admitted to the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. In the lawsuit, her family names the hospital and two doctors as defendants. They assert claims of Wrongful death and negligence after the doctors failed to timely diagnose and treat the victim's infection. This led the deadly bacterial infection to spread throughout her body and destroy tissue, ultimately resulting in her death.

The suit asserts the victim displayed classic signs of the infection when she was admitted to the hospital. She was discharged that same day, and returned to the emergency room in the hospital the next morning with "severe and worsening symptoms." Several hours later, the victim was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. In the ICU, she was diagnosed with a serious case of sepsis and a "presumed diagnosis of pneumonia." Although she was eventually diagnosed with the deadly bacterial infection, it was too late. She underwent treatments, but the infection was too widely spread.

According to the family's lawsuit, the negligence of her doctors and the hospital let the infection advance to a point where she had little chance of survival. The hospital has not officially commented on this case, but it did release information that four out of 68 patients treated at their facility between 2010 and 2013 died from this type of bacterial infection. The family of the victim may be awarded damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of consortium and other compensation if successful in their Wrongful death claim.

Source: Santa Barbara Independent, "Cottage Hospital Sued Over Flesh-Eating Bacteria Death," Kelsey Brugger, Aug. 28, 2013

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