Patients and their families place a great amount of trust in medical professionals. Relying on another person's understanding of one's illness and the best method of treating the illness is often critical for recovery. In exchange for a patient's trust, medical professionals are expected to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.
Now, imagine a 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who relied on a nurse to care for her six days each week. Now, imagine this 14-year-old girl weighing only 28 pounds-the same weight as many toddlers. Because of a nurse's negligent care for this girl, she essentially starved to death. The girl reportedly died from "nutritional and medical neglect complicated by cerebral palsy."
The teenager died in 2011 and the nurse was just recently sentenced to the maximum 10-year prison sentence. The nurse reportedly pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter among several other charges.
This type of situation demonstrates the importance of medical professionals performing their duties adequately. The girl's mother was also sentenced to nine years in prison in relation to her daughter's death. So, the nurse was not the only person involved in caring for the girl. However, unlike the mother, this nurse was hired to care for the teenage girl and she was expected to provide nursing care for the girl, who could not care for herself.
If a family suspects that a loved one's death is due to improper medical care, looking further into the situation may be worthwhile. The pain of losing a loved one when he or she is under the care of a medical professional is likely very difficult to recover from. Seeking guidance from a personal injury attorney in this situation could help a family recover compensation for unexpected costs incurred as a result of a loved one's wrongful death.
Source: KEYC, "Ohio nurse gets 10 years in malnutrition death," Amanda Lee Myers, Nov. 6, 2012
For additional information on handling cases like this one, please visit our Laurel medical malpractice webpage.