Medical Malpractice: Wrongful Death Suits October 24, 2018
Sometimes a doctor or nurse makes a mistake so severe that it results in a patient’s death. When a family is mourning the unexpected loss of a loved one, it is normal for questions about what happened and why to come up. A recent medical malpractice suit is an example of just that: the family of a patient who died after having spinal surgery is alleging that had doctors considered her health risks before performing the procedure and monitored her diminishing post-surgical state, that she would still be alive today.
What’s the Difference Between Mistakes and Medical Negligence?
In order for something to be determined as medical negligence or malpractice, the claimant must prove that the healthcare professional deviated from the accepted standard of care. Medical providers are allowed to make mistakes – but within reason. When a doctor makes a mistake that a different doctor of equal standing would not have made, or fails to follow the general guidelines of practice, courts may consider this medical negligence.
In the case of the deceased woman, her family’s medical malpractice claim alleges numerous failures. For example, before the decedent had the procedure her white blood cell count was elevated. Although an elevated white blood cell count is often an indication of infection, the surgeon decided to proceed with surgery. After the operation, the patient’s health deteriorated; the defendants failed to order multiple tests, including an MRI that would have shown that the patient had a spinal abscess. As a result of all these errors, the woman became paralyzed (and experienced other medical complications) and later died.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When a person dies and someone is liable – or responsible – for his or her death, the deceased’s loved ones or family members sometimes consider filing a wrongful death civil action lawsuit.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff has to prove that his or her loved one died because of someone else’s (the defendant’s) negligent behavior. Although some wrongful death suits are the result of medical malpractice, not all are. Here are a few examples of other kinds of wrongful death claims:
- When someone’s loved one gets in an automobile accident and is killed by a drunk driver;
- When a machine manufacturer fails to meet federal safety standards (e.g. installing adequate guarding around a machine’s moving parts) and it results in a worker being pulled into the machine and experiencing fatal crushing injuries, and:
- When a senior dies in a nursing home because of inadequate care or supervision.
Plaintiffs who file wrongful death claims do not have to prove that the other party meant to take the deceased person’s life, simply that the defendant acted so negligently that it resulted in the death in question.
When to File a Wrongful Death Suit
There are many reasons to consider filing a wrongful death civil action lawsuit after the preventable death of a loved one. Wrongful death suits can help grieving family members pay for funeral expenses and supplement lost earnings that quickly add up. Even though no amount of money can bring a lost loved one back, it can aid in unburdening grieving family members from the financial stressors so many experience after going through a major loss.
Everyone needs time to grieve. But if you have lost a loved one and think his or her death was the result of someone else’s negligence, an attorney may be able to offer legal help and guidance. A skilled lawyer can help you through the confusing – and difficult – legal process that is involved in filing a wrongful death claim. If you would like to learn more about how to file a wrongful death civil action suit, please contact a representative at our firm.
Allentown Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Injured Individuals Since 1947
If your loved one passed away because of another party’s negligent behavior, we are happy to answer your questions and have one of our Allentown medical malpractice lawyers at Galfand Berger review your case for free. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.