Residents of Wisconsin may have heard about a mistake at an Oregon hospital that resulted in the death of a 65-year-old woman. She was given a paralyzing agent instead of the anti-seizure medicine she was supposed to take, and the switch-up caused her to suffer from brain damage and cardiac arrest. A representative from the hospital said that this is the first time a case such as this has happened, and they take full responsibility for the accident.
Three hospital employees have been placed on paid leave because of the mistake, and investigators are trying to figure out what caused the error to happen. To determine this, they are looking into how the drug was labeled, how it was ordered from the manufacturer, how it was given to the patient, and other steps of the medication process. The ultimate goal of the investigation is to discover whether or not human error was involved in the tragedy. According to the woman’s son, her family does not yet know if they will take legal action.
Between 210,000 and 400,000 preventable deaths occur because of hospital errors. Despite this high rate, a recent Department of Health and Human Services report shows that from 2010 to 2013, the amount of hospital errors resulting in fatalities has decreased by 17 percent.
When an individual suffers fatal health complications due to a hospital error, his or her family members may choose to file a lawsuit in an effort to receive compensation for damages such as lost wages and pain and suffering. If a legal representative finds that there is enough evidence to pursue legal action, he or she may assess and file a claim. This claim will then be taken before a judge or the parties involved will make a deal in what is known as a pretrial settlement.
Source: CBS News, “Hospital medication error kills patient in Oregon“, December 04, 2014