Did you receive unexpected news from the hospital that they discovered your otherwise-healthy loved one deceased in bed? There has been a shocking rise in cases like this throughout the nation. Malpractice lawyers and doctors are referring to them as "dead in bed" cases.
It may happen like this: A patient receives a routine surgery, and while recovering, he or she dies unexpectedly. Because nurses and doctors are not monitoring these patients appropriately, no one discovers that there was a problem until it's too late. Some are blaming "dead in bed" cases on the overuse of opioid pain medications, which can suppress the respiratory system and result in death.
50,000 respiratory depression cases in the last decade
Experts estimate that as many as 50,000 cases of unexpected respiratory repression after surgery have happened over the last ten years. Some of these patients survived but suffered debilitating brain injuries. Others did not survive. Unfortunately, a team of doctors that reviewed lawsuits relating to these cases determined that most of them were preventable.
A readily-available technology that monitors oxygen levels of patients can prevent most cases of respiratory depression. Nevertheless, the hospitals that use this technology are rare.
Did hospital negligence result in your loved one's death?
To determine whether a hospital or doctor was negligent in your loved one's death, it's important to review all the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. For example, you'll want to ask the following questions:
- What is your loved one's medical history?
- What happened during surgery, and did the anesthesiologist perform his or her duties appropriately?
- Should the hospital and doctors have taken extra measures to monitor him or her more closely following surgery?
- What was done to ensure your loved one's safety after surgery?
- What was done for your loved one after medical staff discovered the health emergency?
You and your medical malpractice attorney will need to review the answers to the above questions and more to evaluate the viability of a potential claim for damages. If appropriate, you can then devise a legal strategy to pursue compensation and justice in court.