If you have a loved one who has died while in the hospital and you suspect it was because of something the hospital did or did not do, you may be able to sue for wrongful death. The important element of wrongful death is that if it were not for the hospital, your loved one would still be alive. This must be something specific, an action or inaction that led to your loved one's death. Of course, this is not always easy to prove. People die in hospitals all of the time, and it is seldom the fault of the hospital. However, there are situations when the hospital is at fault. The following are a few examples of this.
The wrong medication was administered
This happens more than many people think. Sometimes it is a nurse who isn't paying attention to the labels on an IV bag, but at other times, it's not the nurse but the paperwork that was mixed up. When the mistake results in damage to a patient, it is a case of personal injury. But when a patient dies, it may be a case of wrongful death.
The medications given were contraindicated
There may be a medication that is normally used in a given circumstance, but not when the patient is currently taking medications that do not interact well with the standard treatment. In some situations, this can result in death. Sometimes a younger person can tolerate the interaction to the point where the hospital staff realizes their mistake in time. But older patients may not be as fortunate. A similar situation to medications that are contraindicated are medications that a patient is allergic to. A medical staff that is negligent to take notice of these allergies can cause a patient's untimely death. One example of this is penicillin. This is a common antibiotic, but some people are allergic to it.
The emergency room staff failed to follow procedure
People die routinely in emergency rooms. In most situations, there was nothing that could have been done. In some situations, the diagnosis came too late, but even in this case, it may not have been the medical staff's fault. There are, however, fundamental procedures that need to be followed to prevent patients from dying needlessly. Given certain symptoms a patient exhibits, there are certain tests that should be performed. Another example of procedural error is not looking for a medic alert bracelet or necklace. By failing to take notice of the medic alert, a certain medication is either delivered or one is not administered, and the result is death.
If you suspect that your loved one has died due to negligence on the part of a hospital, a wrongful death attorney can help evaluate the circumstances surrounding your loved one's death.