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Lawsuit: Medical malpractice caused woman's death

When people in Pennsylvania consider their lives, they often envision the people who will be by their side when they meet certain milestones. A son hopes that his mother will be present for his high school graduation and wedding, for examples. Unfortunately, one out-of-state young man claims that he will not have this opportunity after he lost his mother due to medical malpractice.

The woman was a patient at the hospital named as defendant in Jan. 2009. She apparently stopped breathing after being given a sedative. The lawsuit claims that the hospital's protocol -- or lack thereof -- regarding responding to code blue situations ultimately led to the woman's death.

Because of the lack of an organized response system, the lawsuit alleges that efforts to resuscitate the woman did not begin for seven minutes. Unfortunately, during that time she suffered brain damage that ultimately led to her death. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of her son, who was only 14 when she passed away. After deliberating for approximately nine hours, the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, awarding him $8 million.

As evidenced by this case, not having a clear system in place to dictate how medical workers will respond to patients in medical distress can have serious ramifications. In addition to dealing with loss, family members who lose a loved one to medical malpractice must also cope with the financial ramifications of such negligence. Lawsuits such as this often serve two purposes in Pennsylvania. First, they help families cope with the struggles created by loss of wages and funeral expenses. Perhaps most importantly, however, a lawsuit can help ensure that hospitals re-examine the procedures they have in place -- or create new ones -- to help prevent similar mistakes in the future.

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