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Was hospital negligence to blame for man's untimely death?

This is a question that many Oregon families have asked in the aftermath of the untimely death of a loved one. In many of those cases, a civil court was asked to deide whether hospital negligence occurred. A trial regarding the death of an out-of-state man recently began, and this same question is at the heart of the proceedings.

In April 2012, the man underwent a full knee replacement. Approximately 10 days after the procedure, he was in the emergency room complaining of pain in his wrists, shoulders and arms. Within 30 hours of being admitted to the hospital, he was dead. His family believes his death was due to errors made by hospital staff.

During those 30 hours, the Montana man reportedly gained 17 pounds. Furthermore, when his autopsy was conducted, it was discovered that his lungs weighed approximately three times as much as the average man. In opening statements, it was alleged that the man was given too much fluid, which caused his lungs to fill with fluid (a condition called pulmonary edema). His death was said to be caused by complications from that condition and a serious infection. The hospital denies any wrongdoing, including allegations that the nurse changed the man's chart and got rid of her notes after the man's death.

Communication between hospital staff members is critical in providing a patient with the best care possible. When communication breaks down between nurses and doctors, the results can be serious or deadly. Losing a loved one is difficult enough, but if hospital negligence is suspected, it can make matters worse. Successfully litigating a medical malpractice claim in an Oregon civil court could provide a grieving family with restitution for their loss, and can also help spur changes in hospital procedures that could save other lives.

Source: bozemandailychronicle.com, "Family says hospital at fault for patient's death", Whitney Bermes, Sept. 14, 2016

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