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Jury awards family $5 million in hospital negligence case

Illinois patients often rely on doctors to correctly interpret images such as X-rays, MRIs and CAT scans. Most of the time that might be true, but they are human, which means that mistakes can happen. In some cases, those errors cost a patient his or her life. This type of hospital negligence is what led an out-of-state jury to award a family nearly $5 million after the death of an 88-year-old man.

In Dec. 2008, shortly before the man's 89th birthday, he was transferred from his nursing home to a hospital in his area because he kept losing consciousness. At the hospital, doctors decided that he needed a feeding tube, and one was inserted. However, the patient removed it, which required it to be replaced.

The man was restrained -- ostensibly for his own safety -- and a second tube was inserted. However, an X-ray indicated that it was put into his lung instead of his stomach. When the third tube was inserted, doctors were satisfied that it was in his stomach. However, the X-ray was not read properly, and it was actually in his lung.

For approximately 12 hours, no one noticed that the feeding solution was going into his lung. The Pennsylvania man was awake and restrained as he drowned slowly. Attempts to revive his lifeless body failed.

His family filed a hospital negligence claim against the relevant parties, which resulted in the jury's verdict. Illinois residents who lose a loved one due to a fatal error on the part of hospital personnel may also exercise their right to file a lawsuit seeking damages for their loss. Not only could restitution help with any financial losses incurred, but it could also help keep another family from experiencing the same type of tragedy.

Source: montgomerynews.com, "Abington Memorial Hospital ordered to pay $5M in medical malpractice case", Linda Finarelli Norri, May 18, 2016

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