A few years ago, a 23-year-old Franklin County resident sustained burns over 40 percent of his body. While at work, he was refilling a forklift with gasoline when the gasoline ignited.
The man was taken to a University of Virginia Medical Center. The man underwent surgery the next day to attach skin grafts. The man stopped breathing for several minutes. The lack of oxygen caused brain damage, according to the medical records.
He was later transferred to a hospital in Rocky Mount, NC. Thirteen weeks after the initial surgery to treat his burns, the man died. The death certificate stated the cause of death as “a bacterial infection complicated by his brain injury and the burns.”
The man’s family filed a medical malpractice claim against the University, its Medical Center, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, which owns the University. The claim was based on the fact no monitors or alarms were attached to the man that would have alerted doctors immediately when he stopped breathing.
The lawsuit was settled for $1,500,000. Settlements for recovery in civil cases are limited by the Commonwealth to a maximum of $1.5 million. The University’s attorney said that the University neither accepts nor denies the allegation upon which the civil suit was filed. The University did recognize that the man’s death was a result of injuries he sustained while a patient in the University Medical Center. When agreeing to the settlement, the family of the man agreed that they would never sue.
This was a tragic loss of life. It points up the fact that even in the best hospitals, malpractice can occur. We are led to believe that the failure to attach monitors to the man after surgery might have been considered negligent.
This case also reminds all of us that when a patient cannot speak for him-/her-self, the family might need to be more attentive to the care provided to their loved one and ask questions when they believe something might be wrong in the loved one’s treatment.
If you or a loved one is harmed due to the negligence of a medical facility or its doctors call Altizer Law, P.C. Our trusted Virginia attorneys are here to help you obtain justice.