Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: “Dead in Bed” LawsuitsFebruary 14, 2017
Imagine going to the hospital to visit a loved one who is recovering smoothly after a routine surgery, only to find out that he or she passed away unexpectedly within hours of your visit. While this may sound like a highly unlikely scenario, it is an alarming trend that has been occurring in hospitals across the country. Researchers have found an increase in patients who are recovering after a successful surgery, yet within hours are found “dead in their bed.” According to medical experts, the majority of these fatal accidents could have been prevented.
Many believe that opioid painkillers like Delaudid, Vicodin, and Oxycontin are partly to blame for these sudden fatalities because they can suppress the respiratory system to dangerous levels. In extreme cases, the brain is deprived of too much oxygen, resulting in permanent brain damage or fatality. Over the past ten years, up to 50,000 patients have either passed away or suffered serious brain injury as a result of respiratory depression from opioids. Medical malpractice payouts for cases like this can reach upwards of $7 million.
Reducing “Dead in Bed” Cases Through Improved Monitoring Technology
According to an investigation conducted by reporters from News 5 in Cleveland, Ohio, if more hospitals used a technology known as continuous electronic monitoring of a patients’ oxygen level, they would have far fewer “dead in bed” cases. Although the technology is readily available, few hospitals across the country use it.
One such tragedy occurred in a hospital in Akron, Ohio, where a female patient was recovering from a successful surgery and was recuperating in her room on the general floor, where risks are judged to be the lowest. While recovering in her room, her respiration plummeted, resulting in severe brain damage. The continuous electronic monitoring was not available in her room. Ultimately, the patient’s husband made the excruciating decision to remove his wife from life support.
In a statement released by the hospital, officials said that all surgical patients are monitored based on their clinical needs, and that they implement the appropriate treatment techniques – including pulse oximeter readings – for the duration of their recovery. According to hospital officials, the continuous electronic monitoring is not used in every room in the hospital, particularly in rooms on the general floor where patients are not considered to be high risk.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Medical Negligence
If someone you love was recovering well after a routine surgery, but passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, contact the Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Our dedicated and compassionate legal team will thoroughly investigate the events surrounding your case, and determine who is responsible for your tragic loss. We will ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation for your pain and suffering. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent victims of medical malpractice throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.