Traumatic brain injuries require specialized treatment, and hospitals in Virginia owe a duty of care to ensure that patients receive adequate medical attention. It is critical that hospitals take care to prevent patients with head wounds or concussions from developing potentially catastrophic complications.
The surviving family members of a 58-year-old Army veteran filed a lawsuit against the hospital that treated him after he sustained critical injuries in a motorcycle crash. The accident resulted in a traumatic brain injury, which required the hospital’s intensive care unit to provide oxygen through a tracheostomy tube. According to The Roanoke Times, the motorcyclist died while under the care of negligent attendants working in the ICU.
While the man remained in the ICU during the month following the accident, the tracheostomy tube came loose. It went undiscovered and unattached long enough to cause a disruption in the flow of oxygen to his brain. As a result of the oxygen deprivation, he suffered a severe anoxic brain injury, which typically causes neural and brain cells to die within minutes. His doctor and family decided to take him off life support later that day, and he passed away.
The family’s lawsuit
According to the complaint, hospital attendants did not replace the dislodged breathing tube quickly enough, and the family alleged that the hospital’s negligence caused the wrongful death. While the hospital did not admit to fault for its patient’s death, it settled with the family for $3.75 million.
Deaths from medical errors
As reported by CNBC, a Johns Hopkins University study revealed that medical errors are the cause of death for at least 250,000 patients each year. Many errors are preventable, and a lack of judgment or attentiveness may be to blame in some cases. If a hospital or its staff are negligent in their responsibilities, a legal action may help a family seek relief.