Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

pain-1366480In an interesting 2016 North Carolina appellate case, the plaintiffs appealed a dismissal of their complaint against a hospital and university health care system. The case arose when a man was admitted to the hospital complaining of abdominal pains. He was married to the plaintiff and was the father of two children who were also plaintiffs. He was an active, healthy person.

While at the hospital, the man’s condition got worse and he was transferred to the ICU, put on a ventilator and died. His body was transferred to the university health care system, but it was later unclear from the plaintiff’s complaint whether this was before or after he died. The defendants’ responsive pleadings stated that his deceased body was transferred.

A few years later, the plaintiffs sued the hospital and health care system. They claimed that the decedent had screamed and called out loudly for his wife and kids, but the hospital staff refused to permit them to see him. The wife told staff she had waited too much time to see her husband and staff had sat with her in the waiting room but refused to let her see the man. The plaintiffs also alleged that neither the man nor his wife had given permission for him to be removed from the ventilator.

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x-rayIn Livingston Gause v. New Hanover, a North Carolina appellate court considered whether a patient’s fall during an X-ray brought his injury claim under medical malpractice laws. The case arose when a daughter drove her mom to the ER because she had chest pains related to a fall. The mother was 73 and had a history of falls.

At the ER, a nurse evaluated the mother’s complaint and determined which priority she should be. She asked for an x-ray chest PA or AP. The PA chest x-ray required a patient to stand, while the AP could be taken with the patient lying down or sitting or standing. However, the PA provided more information about the patient, permitting a more accurate diagnosis.

After several minutes, the mother was taken to a restricted area within the ER and evaluated by a different nurse. The x-ray technician met the mother and her daughter in the hall and took her in a wheelchair to radiology. The daughter stayed in the hall. The tech explained what was going to happen to the mother, asking her if she could stand, and the mother answered that she thought she could stand. The mother then stood up without help. However, the tech spoke to a doctor later in the day and told the doctor that she stood the patient up.

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