Sommers Schwartz attorney Andy Dragovic obtained a confidential $900,00 settlement on behalf of a 52-year-old man who died after the defendant hospital’s staff failed to monitor and respond to a cardiac alarm when the decedent recovered from a hernia repair surgery.
According to the complaint, the decedent developed a large diaphragmatic hernia and underwent a laparoscopic procedure to repair it. Post-operatively, he was transferred to the general surgical floor for recovery. Three days later, he experienced chest pain and shortness of breath while walking back to his bed from the bathroom. Twice that day, the rapid response team was called in response to his complaints, and over that period, the decedent’s oxygen saturation levels dropped to 60 percent. He was evaluated and given oxygen and Dilaudid for the pain, and a bedside cardiac alarm was activated.
During the early morning hours, the decedent exhibited an irregular heart rhythm that triggered the alarm and printed a cardiac monitor strip. When a cardiac alarm sounds, the standard of care – and common sense – requires the hospital nursing staff to respond by assessing the patient and taking further action or precautions as necessary. No one responded to the decedent’s alarm.
The decedent initially recovered and his heartbeat normalized, but a short time later that morning, he suffered a respiratory event that caused his oxygen saturations to drop, which caused his heart to slow down and ultimately stop.
A code was called, and the code team resuscitated the decedent and started him breathing again, but because he had been deprived of oxygen for too long, he suffered an anoxic brain injury that rendered brain dead. He was kept alive on life support for another four months until he ultimately died, leaving behind his wife and two sons.
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