How would you feel if you found out — nearly two years after the fact — that your elderly mother had died at the hands of an inept doctor doing an unauthorized procedure instead of pneumonia like you were told?
Would it make you feel even worse to learn that the hospital forged documents with your name on them, giving consent to the procedure?
That’s the dark reality for the family of a Texas woman, who only found out that their mother died a painful death, covered in blood, while a doctor mishandled a catheter in a large vein in her neck thanks to the efforts of a whistleblower. The odds are good, had the family known of the medical facility’s previous problems — which included letting an intensive care patient die after his breathing machine became disconnected because nurses didn’t even recognize what the alarm on the unit was signaling — they might have taken their mother elsewhere in the first place.
As it is, all they can do now is file a wrongful death claim against the physician and the medical center in hopes that it will bring to light the deceptions happening in many of our nation’s hospitals and nursing homes.
Here are some fast facts that should alarm anybody:
— Preventable errors may be the number one cause of the death in hospitals.
— More than seven out of 10 euphemistically known “adverse events,” or medical errors, were the result of negligence.
— Over 90 percent of those errors were entirely preventable.
— “Near misses,” where the patient could have been harmed, but the mistake was prevented at the last minute, occur 300 times more often than actual errors.
— Most hospital leaders would prefer that patients only learn of errors by request and feel that the state shouldn’t release information at all under certain circumstances.
— You can trust nurses to report errors far more often than physicians. In some facilities, more than 93 percent of errors were reported by nurses.
If you learn that a fatal medical error was hidden from you at the time of your loved one’s death, contact an attorney about a wrongful death claim as soon as you learn the truth. It may not be too late to pursue a claim if you were purposefully deceived.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “She believed her mom died peacefully. Two years later, a nurse wrote to say what really happened.,” Mike Hixenbaugh, April 07, 2017