A California medical malpractice case citing wrongful death is scheduled for trial later this year in which a California hospital, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, is charged with covering up the cause of a patient’s death. In the lawsuit the hospital and the surgeon are accused of hiring an outside service to perform an autopsy and file a false report as the circumstances of the patient’s death.
The victims survivors, a wife and child, seek punitive damages based on the fraud, conspiracy and cover-up – all denied by the hospital and surgeon.
The patient was male, 42 years old and scheduled for surgery to remove a cervical disc in January of 2010. Post-operative hematoma is a known side effect of this surgery. If it occurs, it can expand to the point of trachea obstruction. Patients can suffocate to death if the condition is not promptly diagnosed and treated.
Twelve hours after surgery there is a nurse documented change in his voice and he complained that breathing felt strange to him. Approximately 2 a.m. the following morning the nurse contacted the doctor via telephone to inform him of the change in voice, trouble breathing and swallowing and swelling. The surgeon prescribed an icepack and numbing gel.
Ten minutes after the phone call, the nurse called for an evaluation from the hospitals rapid response team. They medicated him and provided oxygen. By 2:30 he was reported blue in color and no attempts to resuscitate him were successful.
The pathologist from the outside, hired by the hospital to file a false report listed a fatty liver as the cause of death. The legal claim against the hospital is that they arranged for this autopsy to fool the wife.
It was only after she became suspicious and ordered a third autopsy did she find that her husband had indeed died from an airway obstruction caused by an expanding post-operative hematoma. The medical malpractice suit brought against the hospital and the surgeon allows that the surgeon colluded by lying to the wife. It also presents that timely and accurate diagnosis would have precluded a small slit in his throat that would have saved his life.
The hospital and surgeon deny all allegation of wrongdoing. They deny any negligence, conspiracy or cover-ups. The surgeon denies he received the nurse’s phone call stating trouble breathing and swallowing and changes in voice.
An attorney for the hospital says all claims are false, preposterous, beyond the bounds of reason and unsupported by any evidence.
This sounds like something out of a movie but it’s true and things like this happen all the time. If you or a loved one has been affected by medical malpractice consult an attorney immediately.
Moseley Collins is a knowledgeable, experience medical malpractice attorney you can trust. His Christian values and strong morals have garnered him many happy client testimonials. As so many others have, turn to him when you need help in your medical malpractice case. Call our office for a free consultation to learn how we can help you.