Widow Receives $3.7 Million Jury Award After Five-Day Medical Malpractice Trial

A jury in Jefferson County, Illinois recently awarded $3.7 million in damages to a woman whose husband died in December 2009 while awaiting surgery under the care of the defendant at a hospital in Mount Vernon, Illinois. According to a local news article discussing the case, the patient died after suffering a massive pulmonary embolism when he was being moved into a stretcher from his bed to go into surgery, under the defendant’s recommendation.

chest x-rayA pulmonary embolism is a blockage of the major artery going into the lungs, which is usually caused by the formation of a blood clot in a patient’s leg that breaks off and moves to a lung, obstructing or stopping blood flow. In this case, the embolism caused a complete stop in blood flow, which caused cardiac arrest almost instantly and resulted in the man’s death.

Common Causes of a Pulmonary Embolism and Doctors’ Responsibility to Prevent Them

A pulmonary embolism is caused by a blood clot blocking an artery that supplies blood to the lungs, and it is often the result of a patient remaining sedentary for an extended period of time. The clot usually forms in the patient’s leg, and if the patient is moved after a sedentary period it can dislodge from the leg, move through the blood to the lungs, and cause an embolism.

Medical providers have a responsibility to take preventative measures when treating patients that are at risk of developing blood clots and suffering pulmonary embolisms. To treat at-risk patients, doctors can prescribe blood-thinning medications and the use of special stockings that prevent clots from forming. Patients should also be instructed to take short walks several times a day to prevent the formation of blood clots.

In the recently decided medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that her husband was kept in a bed for two days before his scheduled surgery, and he was at an elevated risk of suffering from a pulmonary embolism. According to the article, the plaintiff argued that the defendant was negligent because he failed to follow the hospital’s recommendation and did not prescribe the stockings or advise the man to take walks in order to prevent the formation of blood clots.

The verdict and jury award demonstrate that the jury agreed that the defendant negligently failed to diagnose and treat the patient based on the applicable risk factors, and that this departure from the standard of care resulted in the patient’s death, for which the doctor must be held accountable.

Discuss Your Case with a Qualified Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, the qualified Maryland and D.C. medical malpractice attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt have the experience that can help you hold a negligent medical provider accountable for their mistakes. With a skilled malpractice lawyer from Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt, you’ll be confident that your case will be handled professionally, with an increased chance of obtaining a fair award for you and your loved ones. Contact the Maryland malpractice attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt today to discuss your case. We represent victims of medical malpractice and negligence nationwide. Call us at (410) 567-0800 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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