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Virginia hospital settles suit alleging wrongful death of patient

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A medical patient must necessarily put a lot of faith and confidence in the person who provides his or her medical care. Often, one literally entrusts one's life to a doctor or medical institution. Unfortunately, the results of such confidence in the ability or care exercised by the doctor do not always turn out well. When there is evidence of a failure by medical professionals to meet the appropriate standard of care, and injury or death results, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be appropriate.

Sometimes, the facility may choose to settle such lawsuits in an effort to minimize the negative publicity and avoid additional litigation expenses. In a recent case, a Virginia medical rehabilitation center paid $495,000 after a patient died due to a mistake allegedly committed by a hospital staff member.

The patient, a 75-year-old woman, had been transferred from a hospital to the rehabilitation center. A doctor had placed a tube in her neck for dispensing medication, fluids and nutrition, and subsequently ordered the tube removed. According to the lawsuit, it was removed improperly, causing complications which led to the patient's death. In settling the lawsuit, the facility did not admit liability.

A medical malpractice lawsuit may result from a doctor's failure to diagnose, hospital negligence, or honest mistakes. If the doctor's lack of due care can be established, the court may decide that the doctor and the hospital are liable to pay compensation to the medical malpractice victim or his or her dependents. Those who believe they or a family member are a victim of medical malpractice can benefit by consulting an attorney with experience in this area of practice.

Source: The Roanoke Times, "Richfield Recovery and Care Center pays out settlement over death," Laurence Hammack, March 24, 2014

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