A Florida medical malpractice trial that started on September 8, 2014 and is expected to last from two to three weeks seeks compensatory damages from the defendant physician, defendant hospital, and defendant home health care service for a 78-year-old man who died on March 2, 2011 due to alleged negligent medical care. The medical malpractice plaintiff is the man’s surviving wife, who is seeking damages in excess of $15,000.00
The man’s ordeal began on January 17, 2011, when he suffered a fractured hip due to a fall. He was brought to the defendant hospital the same day and had surgery on his hip the following day. Two days later, he was prescribed Lovanox injections to help prevent deep vein thrombosis, which is a known complication from hip surgery that can lead to pulmonary emboli that can be fatal. Part of the hospital discharge planning included a physician ordering physical therapy after discharge, nurses to visit with the man at home, and the continuation of Lovanox injections for ten days after discharge.
The defendant home health care service allegedly failed to continue the Lovanox injections while the man was home. One week later, he was re-admitted to the defendant hospital where he was diagnosed with large bilateral pulmonary emboli, for which he was treated with a heparin drip. The heparin drip was discontinued on January 30, 2011, after which the man developed more pulmonary emboli within hours after it was discontinued. The man went into cardiac arrest shortly afterwards and died just over one month later.
The wife alleges that the defendant physician negligently failed to follow appropriate procedures, failed to communicate with the other health care providers, failed to properly assess her husband’s condition, and prematurely discontinued appropriate medications that led to her husband’s death. The defendant hospital is alleged to have negligently failed to provide appropriate case management and discharge planning, failed to enforce its own policies, and failed to communicate with other health care providers. The defendant home health care service allegedly failed to provide the Lovanax injections as ordered, failed to properly assess the man’s condition and needs, failed to provide sufficient skilled nursing services, and failed to communicate with other health care providers.
Approximately 350,000 hip fractures occur in the United States each year. Most hip fractures are treated surgically. Hip fracture surgery is in the highest risk category for venous thromboembolism. Studies have shown that deep vein thrombosis in patients with hip fractures without prophylaxis range from 46% to 75%. A study from Britain that investigated 580 consecutive patients who had femoral neck fractures found that 4% of the patients who did not receive prophylaxis suffered fatal pulmonary embolism. Hence, all patients with hip fractures need prophylaxis against venous thromboembolism.
If you or a family member suffered injuries (or worse) during a hospital stay or post-hospital care in the United States that may be due to medical negligence, you should promptly consult with a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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