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Hospital Neglect Leads to Drowning Death

Article posted on: 07/23/2008

As was first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution several months ago, a Gwinnett County jury recently awarded $5 million dollars to the family of a new mother who drowned in a bathtub at a local hospital. The new mother, who was being treated for post-partum high blood pressure, apparently collapsed in the bathtub while taking a shower. Her mother later found her, but she died the next day. In the lawsuit, the family alleged that video footage from outside the decedent's room confirmed that no nurses or other health care providers entered her room to check on her for an extended period of time. Moreover, the evidence uncovered during the discovery phase suggested that the hospital faced a critical shortage of nurses and other staff that should have been on duty so as to prevent this catastrophic result.

Unfortunately, given nursing shortages and the escalating number of patients in U.S. hospitals, incidents of hospital neglect / hospital abuse / hospital negligence are becoming all too common as our cases of nursing home neglect. Nursing home malpractice cases involving patient neglect are often very difficult for plaintiff's attorneys. Whereas in typical personal injury type cases jurors are asked to focus on things such as medical expenses, lost wages and lasting results from injuries, these things are often absent in nursing home cases. As a result, attorneys representing injured nursing home patients must focus on developing themes that focus on the nursing home's wrong doing such as: that the nursing home puts profits over people; that the facility was understaffed and the home knew it; that the staff were not adequately trained; and that the case is not just about 1 patient but about a larger systemic problem at the facility. In short, attorneys often focus on the institutional negligence as opposed to the negligence of lower level employees.

Nursing home cases also differ from more traditional personal injury cases because they focus more on the pain, suffering and loss of dignity associated with the below standard care. In this vein, it is important for a patient's lawyer to identify multiple witnesses who saw the pain and suffering; to show that the patient was being given pain medication; have an expert discuss the various levels of pain that the patient was in at various times and provide visual demonstrations of painful procedures such as debridement (removal of dead skin surrounding a pressure sore).

The lawyers at STSW have handled extensive cases involving hospital neglect / nursing negligence /nursing abuse in the past. If you or a loved one believe you have been the victim of nursing or hospital negligence / nursing or hospital malpractice, call the lawyers at STSW for a free consultation. Our office's attorneys routinely recover verdicts in the million dollar and multi-million dollar range in these types of cases. Our attorneys also routinely handle these cases on a contingency basis, meaning that we lay out the expenses in advance and our clients are only asked to pay our fees and expenses back if we are successful on their behalf whether it be at trial, settlement or after an appeal.

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