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Woman's family receives millions in wrongful death case

When a patient goes to a medical professional for healthcare, the patient most likely expects to be well cared for and that the doctors and nurses will help him or her. However, a variety of medical errors can lower the quality of patient care that many patients may anticipate.

A medical error that occurred a few years ago resulted in one woman's death. Now, the hospital where she was treated has been ordered by a court to pay the woman's family $140 million.

The woman received an insulin prescription for her diabetes. While the physician noted the correct prescription dosage at her hospital, a medical transcriptionist in India who was hired by the hospital made an error when recording the dosage of her diabetes medication.

As a result, when the woman was at a hospital for other reasons, she was given 10 times her prescribed dosage of insulin. The high level of insulin she received was too much and she died as a result.

This case demonstrates one type of medical error that can put patients at risk. This woman did not do anything wrong to receive the wrong dosage of insulin. Her physician did not do anything wrong either. However, the medical transcriptionist made a mistake that was not detected by anyone before nurses administered the high dosage of insulin.

If a better system of checking a patient's medications existed, perhaps this woman would not have died as a result of receiving insulin, which she had been receiving for decades as a diabetic.

By receiving this large payment from the hospital, this woman's family will likely be able to handle medical and legal costs resulting from the medical error. And, while a financial payment like this cannot take away the pain this woman's family has felt, it may ease some financial burdens.

Source: AL.com, "Fatal outsourcing? Thomas Hospital hit with $140 million verdict in death of Daphne woman," Brendan Kirby, Dec. 14, 2012

Category: wrongful death

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