A Pennsylvania hospital has been found liable for a patient's death caused by post-operative drug interactions following knee replacement surgery. The jury found the hospital liable in the amount of $2.4 million.
It goes without saying that a patient should not suddenly die after what seems like a fairly routine procedure. Though hospitals are often responsible for multiple patients, it is a breach of their duty not to consider each case individually.
Unfortunately, not all hospitals monitor such drug reactions closely and this can lead to serious if not lethal consequences. In the above incident, just prior to her death the patient had been administered morphine for her pain, prescribed psychotropic medications such as Clozaril, Anafranil and Ativan, and had also been administered anesthesia just prior to surgery.
Just 24-hours after her surgery, the patient's blood pressure dropped, body temperature rose and respiratory rate increased. It is alleged that the psychiatrist in her care did not order heightened monitoring, which was a step that should have been taken under such circumstances. It is further alleged that the hospital failed to deal with the respiratory and neurological problems in a timely manner.
Those dependent upon the recently deceased individual may not even be aware of their legal options. In their grief, they may also be required to take care of funeral costs and medical expenses. Their situation may be precarious due to the fact that they depended upon the deceased individual for their financial support. They may require legal counsel experienced in the medical malpractice and wrongful death area to at least make their situation bearable.
Source: Outpatient Surgery Magazine, "2.4 Million Verdict in Drug Interaction Wrongful Death," by Mark McGraw, Oct. 26, 2011