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Family files wrongful death claim after teenager's death

In a story that could just as easily occurred in Oregon, a teenager was on the wrestling team at his high school in Nov. 2010. During wrestling practice that month, he was injured. Within a year, the then 16-year-old was dead. The trial regarding the wrongful death claim filed by his family is now underway and is expected to last for approximately two weeks.

During wrestling practice, the teenager broke two vertebrae in his neck. As a result, he became paralyzed from the neck down. On Sept. 2, 2011, his catheter was not working properly, and his family took him to the emergency room at a hospital in their area. The next morning, he underwent a surgical procedure to fix the problem, received treatment and was then told that he could recover at home.

On the way out, the Wisconsin teenager had a dizzy spell, but the hospital staff allowed him to leave. On the way home, the teen's mother decided to run some errands. When she arrived home, she found her son unresponsive in the back of the van.

Paramedics transported him back to the hospital, but it was too late. His mother claims that the care he received at the hospital was subpar because medical personnel failed to realize that her son's life was in jeopardy. The hospital claims that her son died because he sat in the van without being moved for two to six hours.

It will be up to the court to decide whether his medical care deviated from accepted standards, which is what an Oregon civil court would also have to determine in a similar wrongful death claim for medical malpractice. When a family loses a loved one after being under the care of medical personnel, it is possible that the care received was not adequate. If the evidence establishes that a medical mistake was made that led to the death of a family member, a court might consider an award of damages that can help with the financial burdens of surviving family members.

Source:, "Trial starts in Cheyenne Regional Medical Center malpractice suit", Sarah Zoellick, Aug. 10, 2016

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