Wrongful Death Claim Against Hospital After Elderly Patient Dies, Part 4 of 5

The following blog entry is written to illustrate an example of an injury case. Reviewing this kind of lawsuit should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this big rig accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

Defendant Haim adamantly denied he ever promised the patient he would walk again. Instead, he documented that the surgery was for relief of pain, which was likely going to continue without repair of the hip. On the afternoon of February 17, 2007, he noted the hematologist had ordered the patient to have nothing by mouth after midnight and that his blood should be typed and cross-matched for two units of blood for typical replacement after surgery. He interpreted these orders as “clearance” for the surgery. He hoped to improve the patient’s quality of life by eliminating pain during movement. He operates very frequently on Sundays on elective cases.

The nurse obtaining the written consent, who was training at the time, said she would have been physically accompanied by her charge nurse when she obtained the patient’s written consent, and neither would have obtained it if they had any doubt of the patient’s competency. The family is noted to be in the patient’s room that afternoon, and she would have documented any objection to the surgery.

Both doctors denied the patient was bleeding to death. There was no significant surgical wound bleeding noted, and his anemia was corrected by transfusions. Other areas, such as the GI-tract, were evaluated for bleeding, and nothing significant was found.

With regard to negligence, defendants’ expert testified that Dr. Reason complied with the standard of care in all respects. The “possible dementia” was in the differential diagnosis at admission but was transient and likely due to dehydration, infection, and hypoxia. With regard to causation, he testified that the patient died of complications of multi-organ failure but not due to bleeding. Instead, his kidneys began failing (prior to surgery) after a consultant ordered a CT of the neck with contrast to rule out an airway obstruction.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

The patient had a contrast-induced toxic nephropathy, as proven by a pre-operative abnormal rise in kidney function tests. After surgery, he went into an “atrial flutter” and was managed by a non-defendant cardiologist. This flutter caused insufficiency in heart function, which caused hypoperfusion of all vital organs, which never was successfully corrected, adversely affecting the lungs, kidneys, liver, and other vital organs. Defense expert supported this hypothesis. Defense expert believed everything Dr. Haim did, from acquisition of consent to obtaining medical clearance to the surgery to the post-operative care, was within the standard of care.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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