During late April 2013, a Hertford County, North Carolina medical malpractice jury awarded $4 million to the estate of a deceased patient of a psychiatric acute care inpatient facility who died on April 24, 2009 after going into a diabetic coma on April 13, 2009 following an insulin overdose at the facility. The male patient, who had a history of diabetes, was admitted to the acute care facility on April 10, 2009. On April 11, 2009, a physician ordered that the patient be given 60 units of insulin glargine once a day at bedtime and receive insulin lispro four times a day, which were given later that day. On the morning of April 12, 2009, the patient’s blood sugar was tested when he woke up and it was found to be 27 (signaling severe hypoglycemia that required an immediate medical response) due to being given too much insulin.
The man’s estate filed two medical malpractice/wrongful death lawsuits in August 2011: one medical malpractice lawsuit named as defendants the nurse who was responsible for the man’s care when his blood sugar level was found to be 27 and her employer at the time, and the other medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against the physician who had ordered the insulin that was given to the man.
The medical malpractice lawsuit against the nurse and her employer alleged that despite the man’s lethargy the morning after he received the insulin, the nurse “failed to act in such a way to treat this matter as a life-threatening situation.” The medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the nurse was negligent in her care and treatment of the man; she failed to immediately contact the physician based on the man’s condition; she failed to record any notations in the man’s chart to document his condition; she failed to notify the man’s family member who was listed as the person to contact in case of an emergency; she created a life-threatening situation as a result of her negligence; she failed to take emergency action to prevent the man from going into a diabetic coma; and, that she breached her fiduciary duty owed to the man.
The medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician alleged that the physician was negligent in his care and treatment of the man by failing to properly and adequately supervise the nurse and by failing to require the nurse to communicate immediately with him when an emergency or medical crisis arose.
The medical malpractice jury found that the man’s death was proximately caused by the negligence of the nurse and the physician, and that the nurse breached her fiduciary duty owed to the man that led to his death.
If you or a loved one may have suffered injuries or other harms as a result of medical malpractice in North Carolina or in another state in the U.S., you should promptly contact a North Carolina medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may agree to investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and file a medical malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate.
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