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Deceased nurse's estate receives $2.4 million for medical mistake

Medical malpractice is a serious issue. A brief review of the daily newspaper headlines reveals that hospital negligence and doctor errors occur on a daily basis throughout the country. While many medical mistakes are not debilitating or life-threatening, too many are. Maryland readers may find the following article to be of interest, which concerns a recent medical oversight and doctor's error that left an Illinois nurse dead.

An Illinois jury recently awarded a $2.4 million medical malpractice award in a case involving the death of a nurse who was suffering from a bowel obstruction. According to reports, the 47-year-old health care professional died in March, 2007, after she sought treatment in a hospital emergency room. The woman was reportedly suffering from severe abdominal pain and back pain at the time.

According to attorneys representing the nurse's estate, the woman underwent gastric bypass surgery two years before her fatal emergency room visit. Attorneys for the deceased noted that bowel obstruction is a common and known complication associated with gastric bypass surgery that should have diagnosed. The woman died at Carbondale Memorial Hospital in Illinois.

The suit named the emergency room doctor who cared for the nurse and the medical group that employed him as defendants in the case. The jury returned a verdict in a matter of hours. Due to Illinois law, which does not allow punitive damages to be awarded in medical malpractice cases, the entire $2.4 million medical malpractice award was based on actual damages.

The obligation of a defendant to pay for injuries and harm caused in a medical malpractice case is known as liability. There are many reasons that a doctor or hospital may be liable for damages in medical malpractice cases. Common forms of doctor errors that give rise to medical malpractice lawsuits include the failure to diagnose an illness, improper treatment, surgical errors and medication errors.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat, "Jury awards multi-million dollar verdict in medical malpractice case," Beth Hundsdorfer, Nov. 21, 2013

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