A Case of Improper Treatment Resulting to Patient Death

After being admitted in a hospital due to second and third degree burns on his buttocks and heels, the patient, who was 88-year old, was placed on his stomach, without IV. Though a glass of water was available for his consumption, it was placed on a night stand that was out of his reach.

The position he was placed into caused him to regurgitated acid from his stomach, though he could not drink water even when he needed to. As a result, the acid from his stomach burned his esophagus. A couple more days and he was severely dehydrated and suffered organ failure until he lost his capability to talk or swallow anything. After nine days more, his body became too weak to continue bearing the severe suffering, making it impossible for him to still go on suffering.

The hospital and his doctor explained to the family that the man’s very weak condition (even upon admission) was what caused his death. Doubtful of what they were told, the family hired a lawyer and pursued legal action to get full disclosure. The medical board which investigated the 88-year old’s case found that the hospital was actually guilty of 26 different errors and these were actually what contributed to the old man’s suffering and eventual death.

Questioning a doctors’ judgment can be difficult. Though patients have all the right to do so, they worry that this may send a wrong message to the doctor, who may consider queries as lack or absence of trust. Patients should know, however, that even the best and very famous doctors commit mistakes and that, sometimes, these mistakes result to severe harm or patient death.

The case above point to one kind of medical malpractice: improper treatment. As different from wrong diagnosis, improper treatment implies correct diagnosis of a health complaint, thus, a doctor knows exactly what the patient’s health problem is; however, for whatever reason, this doctor provides the patient with the wrong treatment.

Improper treatment includes giving a patient the wrong dose of a drug, prescribing a drug to a patient despite such patient’s known allergy to such drug, delaying, rushing, or performing an unnecessary or a dangerous treatment, inadequate monitoring of a patient, and failing to take the necessary measures in order to prevent a disease.

In its website, the Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C. ®, law firm explains why medical professionals are held to strict performance standards – primarily due to the sensitive nature of their work which can result to severe harm of death in case of a mistake. Sadly, there are medical professionals who fail to live up to these standards and so cause patients undue suffering.

When a doctor, surgeon, or hospital administrator makes a mistake, they put their patients at an increased risk for illness and injury and, based on tort law, harmed patients are given the right to pursue legal action against liable parties to seek for damages resulting from the undue harm they have been made to suffer.

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