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Medical malpractice claim follows death of man in police custody

The family of a man who died while being detained in a holding cell at the Greenbelt Police Department in 2010 is filing a medical malpractice suit against Doctors Community Hospital. The man, a 41-year-old Greenbelt resident, had been involved in an altercation with police officers. According to reports from the state police investigating the incident, the man was injured in a fight with law enforcement officers. He reportedly broke his nose and a rib in the altercation and was brought to Doctors Community Hospital to receive treatment for these injuries.

It was indicated in hospital records that, upon arrival, the man was coherent and cooperative. However, as time progressed, he began to express concern for his wellbeing and asked for additional treatment including a cardiac exam. According to claims made in the lawsuit, he was then brought to a holding cell at the Greenbelt Police Department where he was later died. According to a state medical examiner, evidence suggests the cause was a heart attack.

The family may try to show the hospital acted negligently by prematurely releasing the man from its care, dismissing the symptoms the patient presented. Because hospitals are required to prevent patients from coming to further harm within the best of their capabilities, creating questions about a hospital's diligence while caring for this patient could prove a hospital's liability in a case of alleged neglect.

While the specific details of this case may be outside of the ordinary for the normal family dealing with the issue of medical malpractice, the potential for medical malpractice is not limited solely to extraordinary situations. Mistakes ranging from prescription errors to performing incorrect surgeries can, and have, happened to regular patients. Furthermore, patients may have the right to compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering.

Source: Greenbelt Patch, "Mang Family Files Lawsuit Against Doctors Hospital," Bailey Henneberg, July 18, 2012

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