A basic characteristic of humans is that everyone makes mistakes. In most cases, when lives are not put at risk, this is accepted and most people understand; however, in a medical setting, mistakes that cost the life of a patient are not acceptable. Generally, hospitals are aware of what mistakes might be made and why they are made and do a wonderful job putting in safeguards to prevent them. However, carelessness on the part of doctors or other medical personnel continue to place patients at risk. One set of siblings in North Carolina have decided to take action after the death of their father by filing a medical malpractice case.
In June 2011, a 60-year-old man was admitted to the medical center affiliated with Wake Forest. At the time, he was placed in the intensive care unit due to low blood pressure, kidney issues, and pneumonia. Doctors also determined that he would need surgery to repair a perforation in his abdomen. Once the man’s condition had improved significantly, his doctors determined he was well enough to undergo surgery.
According to the lawsuit filed by the man’s children, his condition remained stable until the anesthesiologist attempted to reverse the man’s anesthesia that problems arose. The plaintiffs claim that the wrong drug was administered — he should have been given Fentanyl, but was instead given Sufentanil, a drug that could be risky for patients who have a history of kidney issues. Although the man’s health immediately began to deteriorate, the doctor did not realize her mistake until nearly an hour later. While there is a drug that can be administered to reverse the effects of Sufentanil, it was not given to the man. The man was returned to the intensive care unit, but died eight days later; his children allege that his death was due to the administration of the wrong drug.
The suffering that this man underwent is tragic. While there are some illnesses that are caused by nature and can be fought, if the allegations against the doctor and medical facility are true, appropriate action should be taken to ensure that such incidents will not occur again. Filing a medical malpractice suit in a North Carolina court is a way to deter this type of event in the future.
Source: The Dispatch, “Siblings file medical malpractice suit over death of father,” Darrick Ignasiak, June 20, 2013