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Jury finds that nursing errors permanently disabled woman

Every industry has its own set of policies and procedures that are designed to maintain safety. They dictate how and when certain actions are to be taken and what safety measures need to be in place prior to any movement being made. In the medical field, these protocols are in place in order to keep patients safe. When nursing errors occur here in Illinois and elsewhere, it is often because of a failure to follow proper procedures.

Recently, a jury decided that a nurse failed to follow proper protocol when removing a catheter from a patient on Dec. 24, 2013. A central venous catheter line was in the woman's neck. When such a line is removed, it is imperative that the patient is lying flat on his or her back in order to prevent an air bubble from getting into the bloodstream. The evidence indicated that when the nurse removed this woman's catheter, she failed to ensure that the patient was lying flat on her back.

Not surprisingly, an air bubble got into the woman's bloodstream. She suffered an air embolism and a stroke. Instead of spending Christmas with her family, the woman remained hospitalized until Feb. 28, 2014.

Her brain damage was extensive. During her time in the hospital, part of her treatment was to re-teach her how to talk and walk. Even with physical and cognitive therapy, the Idaho woman will need assistance for the rest of her life. Those needs are reflected in the jury verdict for $3.85 million that was recently returned.

Many Illinois residents could be under the impression that medical malpractice has more to do with doctors than anyone else. However, nursing errors can be just as damaging and are included in that definition. When a nurse makes a mistake that causes a patient irreparable harm, the victim and/or the family retain the right to file a claim against the nurse and any other party who might bear some responsibility for the incident.

Source:, "'What's a brain injury worth?' Jury awards Twin Falls couple $3.85 million in St. Luke's lawsuit", Alex Riggins, July 13, 2016

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