Medical malpractice is a difficult area of the law. Negligence must be proven in order to win a judgment.
The example of a woman who died last year is particularly poignant, because it was a death that need not have happened but for the negligence of hospital staff. Mrs. Pender(names have been changed to protect the victim), a mental patient, died in November 2008 at a county run hospital after being left in a waiting area for 90 minutes without anyone checking on her. During her wait, Mrs. Pender stopped breathing and when found, had no pulse.
The medical malpractice lawsuit filed stated that the hospital had failed to monitor and supervise Mrs. Pender and that such negligence resulted in her death. The Coroner listed multiple drug intoxication as the cause of death. Mrs. Pender was in the county hospital waiting for a transfer to another facility and was, according to hospital protocol, seated in a waiting area.
Although the paramedic team that took Mrs. Pender to the county hospital indicated she did not exhibit suicidal behavior, she was a well-known patient at the hospital due to her extensive and highly unstable psychiatric history. The lawsuit speculates that Mrs. Pender was left alone for 90 minutes because no one truly believed there was anything wrong with her, other than the “usual” psychotic symptoms.
Whatever the true reasons were for leaving a heavily drugged psychiatric patient alone and unattended for 90 minutes, the facts are clear. Mrs. Pender went in cardiac arrest and stopped breathing because no one was monitoring her during her wait. If they had been watching her, she may be still alive today. In part, the plaintiffs medical malpractice suit, filed by Mrs. Penders daughter, states that the family has lost a kind and loving woman due to the negligence of the hospital.
While this case is an example of a medical malpractice lawsuit, it is also an example of a wrongful death lawsuit. In instances like the ones in this case, it is best to discuss the pertinent details with a dedicated and knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Only the attorney will be able to assess the facts of the case and determine which route would be best to recover damages for the types of personal injuries involved in your specific case.
Not all medical errors are classified as medical malpractice and in order to know your rights and understand how filing a medical malpractice lawsuit or a wrongful death suit works, you must speak to a skilled personal injury attorney.