Tragic Error Results In Paralysis, $8M Judgment Against Hospital
A man filed a lawsuit on behalf of his wife after she suffered a life-altering injury during a surgical procedure. Instead of injecting an anesthetic into the woman for the surgery, they accidentally injected her with tranexamic acid which is a medication used to control bleeding directly into her spine. As a result of the mistake, the woman can only communicate using blinks and grunts, cannot feed herself, and is now in the guardianship of her husband. The woman was undergoing elective hip surgery at the time of the mistake.
The $8M judgment is now pending review from the courts. The payment is held up because the hospital was assigned 35% of the negligence in this case which would put them on the hook for $2.9M of the judgment. In the remainder of this article, we’ll review the case and look at the details.
Why was the hospital at fault?
The anesthesiologist is at fault because he injected a patient with a medication that completely destroyed her brain and left her unable to care for herself. Her life has been destroyed and the error was preventable. The anesthesiologist was assigned 65% of the blame but argued that the hospital had no written procedure for preventing medication mix-ups. An expert for the plaintiff testified that hospitals are supposed to have written procedures for dealing with medication to prevent such errors. The anesthesiologist testified that no such written procedure existed. The hospital maintains they complied with all relevant standards and none of their employees were attributed blame for the malpractice. They will likely appeal their portion of the judgment, but there is a risk involved in that tactic.
If the hospital appeals the decision and loses, they will then owe interest on the judgment. Further, the plaintiff’s attorney can ask the court to revisit a finding that there was no gross negligence on the hospital’s part. In cases like these, the AMA sets policies for hospitals to avoid human error problems that occur. A finding that no such policy was in place at the time could spur a ruling of gross negligence against the hospital.
Hospitals often contract with workers who work for other companies. In this case, the anesthesiologist worked for his own company, not the hospital. Depending on where you live, a hospital may not be able to defeat a claim like this just because the worker worked for another company. Hospitals have a realm of control for which they are responsible. Hospitals cannot transfer this duty of care to a third party simply by hiring independent contractors. They are responsible for maintaining policies.
Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you have been injured due to the negligence of a medical doctor or health care professional, call the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Palmer | Lopez today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.