Medical malpractice is unacceptable regardless of the age of the patient.
In a recent case brought to Gray and White Law, a 92-year-old woman fell in her driveway and fractured her hip. As a result, she needed to have hip surgery. On the day of her surgery, the woman’s five children were present in the hospital waiting room. They were updated immediately after the surgery and told that the surgery went well and that their mom was doing well coming out of anesthesia.
Then Things Went Wrong
The woman was moved to the post-anesthesia care unit for monitoring after surgery. Her children were told she would be there for about an hour and then moved to a regular room. Three hours later, her kids were told that she was not doing well. Two hours after that, her children were told that she was having trouble coming out of the anesthesia and that blood clotting could be a problem.
One hour later, they were told that their mother was dead.
Funeral Director Raises Concerns About the Woman’s Death
After the woman’s body was transferred to the funeral home, the children were contacted and told that their mother had bruises on one entire side of her body. This injury was not consistent with hip surgery. It appeared that she had suffered blunt force trauma or that she had been dropped.
Gray and White Law Does a Complete Investigation
The children brought their case to us. During our review of this woman’s medical records, we noticed a vague note from a nurse that mentioned misplacing the patient. We were unsatisfied with this level of explanation.
We requested and received SBAR (Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation) notes from the time that the woman was in the hospital. SBAR notes are contemporaneous notes that are kept by medical professionals while they are caring for a patient. SBAR notes are not part of the medical record, and they are almost always shredded. Fortunately, they had not yet been shredded in this case, and they provided critical information about what happened to this patient.
The SBAR notes revealed that the patient had fallen off of the table in the post-anesthesia care unit. Two aides decided for themselves that she was okay. They did not consult a physician, nor did they tell anyone that she had fallen. As a result of her fall, her blood started clotting, and this caused her death.
Hospital Policy Changed Because of This Case
Medical malpractice lawsuits are not just about money. The adult children who lost their 92-year-old mom were comforted to know that as a result of their lawsuit, this hospital will now:
- Require a doctor to assess a patient who has fallen.
- Have more than two people assist in the transfer of patients above a certain weight.
- Have railings on post-anesthesia care unit beds.
If your loved one has died because of medical negligence, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Kentucky. Your time to file a claim is limited, and we encourage you to contact our experienced medical malpractice law firm as soon as possible to learn about your rights and about how we may be able to help your family during this difficult time.