The concept of spring cleaning is a common one for people in the United States. After the cold weather disappears, people in North Carolina and across the country typically embark in a thorough cleaning of their house. Unfortunately for one woman, her tasks ultimately led to her death. Subsequently, a medical malpractice suit filed on her behalf.
In March 2005, the 62-year-old woman was on a ladder when she fell. She was transported to a hospital, and scans revealed that she had broken several ribs. One rib had cracked so that its point was near her aorta. Doctors recommended that she transfer to a different hospital that could better treat her injuries.
Doctors at the new hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, met with her but decided to wait until the next morning to conduct further testing. Before that occurred, the woman coughed and apparently caused the rib to puncture a hole in her aorta. She went into cardiac arrest and died a short time later. An autopsy later confirmed that there was a hole in her aorta near the tip of the rib.
While the hospital continues to support the actions of the two doctors, the doctors have recently settled the case for $4.5 million. While most doctors are well-trained, thorough professionals, a single misstep could have deadly consequences for a patient — as this case shows. People in North Carolina who have suffered from medical malpractice also have the option of seeking legal recourse in a civil court. By pursuing litigation, attention may be brought to any mistakes, which will hopefully prevent them from being repeated in the future.
Source: The Boston Globe, “Massachusetts General Hospital doctors agree to pay $4.5 million in malpractice case“, Jacqueline Tempera, April 16, 2014