During a two year period from 2004 to 2006 it was reported that over 188,000 lives were lost due to what is called a “failure to rescue”. A failure to rescue occurs when a patient dies in a hospital from preventable complications due to hospital caregivers failing to recognize the patient is dying.
A “failure to rescue” caused six year old Christian Padilla his life in 2005. Christian successfully made it through surgery to correct a birth defect, but died in the hospital after no one realized he was having complications that resulted in his death. The nurse noted that Christian was “fidgety” but did not examine him further to determine if Christian was having any medical problems. Due to the failure of the nurse and hospital staff, Christian died from seizures that resulted from brain swelling. His father settled with the hospital for $1.25 million.
If you or someone you know is in the hospital or has a planned stay in a hospital, be aware of who should be monitoring the patient and ask questions. Make certain someone is checking on the patient and if there is a change in behavior that the change is looked into further than just noting it on a chart. Increased awareness of a patient’s change in behavior should especially be noted and investigated if the patient is recently out of surgery or is on pain medication.
If someone you know has died as a result of unexplained circumstances while being treated in a hospital, contact an attorney. The family may have a legal claim against the hospital.
Currently a partner with the McCallister Law Group, Marc McCallister first worked as a defense attorney at a large insurance defense firm where he defended area hospitals and physicians. He now concentrates on his areas of expertise, which include medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, products liability, premises liability, motor vehicle and wrongful death cases.