An Alabama hospital had a bad week last week: it was named as a medical malpractice defendant in two separate cases filed on behalf of two men who had been shot and allegedly suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence at the hospital. One of the men died from his wounds (his family alleges that he would have lived had the on-call surgeon responded timely and appropriately to calls for his assistance, and that the hospital did not have an adequate back-up contingency plan when the on-call surgeon was unavailable) and the other suffered serious deterioration in his medical condition because the hospital’s alleged negligence led to his non-life-threatening injuries unnecessarily progressing to a life-threatening condition.
The First Alabama Hospital Medical Malpractice Claim
On December 27, 2013, the 24-year-old man was shot in the back (apparently he was not the intended target) and brought to the Alabama hospital’s emergency room for treatment. It was quickly determined that the extent of the man’s internal injuries would require immediate surgical attention, leading the hospital to page its on-call surgeon, who apparently was involved with an elective surgery at the time that he was first paged. The surgeon responded that the hospital should find another surgeon. When the hospital was unable to find another surgeon, it paged its on-call surgeon a second time. The on-call surgeon responded to the second page in a similar manner, advising that the hospital should find another surgeon.
The hospital finally found a thoracic surgeon who performed an emergency thoracotomy, but the thoracic surgeon did not find any chest or aortic injury. The hospital felt that the man still needed emergency abdominal surgery and therefore paged the on-call surgeon a third time. The on-call surgeon responded that the man should be transferred to another Alabama hospital. However, about ten minutes before the man died from his injuries in the hospital’s emergency room, the on-call surgeon called the emergency room to say he was on his way to the ER, but the on-call surgeon never arrived.
The on-call surgeon is also a defendant in the medical malpractice lawsuit filed last week.
The Second Alabama Hospital Medical Malpractice Claim
The second man was shot in 2012 while at a bar. When he arrived at the hospital, his injuries were considered serious but not life-threatening. While at the hospital, the man’s temperature spiked and he suffered sepsis due to his internal injuries, yet no surgery was ordered. He was later transferred to another Alabama hospital, which requested that the man be intubated before he was transferred, but the transferring hospital failed to do so, leading the man to be in extremely critical condition at the time of his arrival at the second hospital (a surgeon at the second hospital noted “mismanagement at outside hospital” in the man’s medical records). His internal bleeding required multiple surgeries and a one-month hospital stay.
If you or a loved one suffered serious or fatal injuries at an Alabama hospital or at a hospital in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a local Alabama medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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