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  4.  – Lawsuit over patient’s punctured aorta settled

Lawsuit over patient’s punctured aorta settled


Oregon’s doctors often have to make quick decisions in order to save patients’ lives. Though some mistakes are bound to happen in some situations, other cases present such an obvious problem that doctors should be able to take the appropriate steps to prevent further harm to the patient. Unfortunately, though, even these easy cases are sometimes botched.

A medical malpractice lawsuit was recently for $4.5 million after a woman was unnecessarily killed by hospital negligence. The 62-year-old woman had fallen from a ladder and broken a rib. Though one of her fractured ribs was sharp and dangerously close to her aorta, doctors failed to conduct any chest imaging and neglected to form a team to reduce the damaged rib. Doctors agreed to monitor her overnight, but wanted to wait until the morning to conduct a chest x-ray. Unfortunately, the woman coughed at some point before she was adequately treated, causing her rib to puncture her aorta and sending her into cardiac arrest.

Many medical conditions require prompt attention. As evidenced by this case, failing to do so can be deadly. In order to hold medical professionals responsible, medical malpractice victims or their surviving families should consider filing a lawsuit.

Both those who survive a hospital negligence event and the family of those who die from such negligence can file a lawsuit. To obtain a favorable judgment, a victim or his or her family must satisfactorily show the defendant’s negligence caused his or her injuries. In the event of death, a surviving family member must show the negligence caused the victim’s death.

If a judge or jury agrees with the plaintiff’s claim, then money may be awarded for damages, including but not limited to medical expenses and lost wages. This way, those who need long-term care to accommodate a permanent disability may be able to afford such care and those who lose a loved one can find the financial stability and comfort to allow them to grieve appropriately.

Source: The Boston Globe, “MGH doctors to pay $4.5m over death,” Jacqueline Tempera, April 16, 2014