Generally, when a California resident is not feeling well or notices an abnormality on the body, he or she will seek medical attention. Sometimes the individual will visit a doctor’s office; other times the individual will deem the situation more serious and will visit an emergency room. Regardless of where the individual chooses to seek treatment, he or she is depending upon the medical staff to provide the appropriate treatment. When this does not happen and the individual dies as a result of the lack of treatment, there is a possibility that there may be a case for wrongful death.
In 2012, a 43-year-old California mother visited her local emergency room. She had a large bruise on her check, she was experiencing nausea, and she was having difficulty breathing. According to her family, the hospital discharged her and sent her home. However, as the evening progressed, so did her condition.
The next morning, she was again taken to the emergency room where it was determined that she was suffering from necrotizing fasciitis (NF), more commonly known as a flesh eating bacteria. The infection was spreading rapidly and she had fluid buildup in her lungs. Thirty hours after her first visit to the emergency room, the woman died.
A letter from one of the hospital’s vice president’s apparently indicated that this situation did lead to a change in hospital policy. He also suggested that if this new policy had been in place, the mother would likely have survived. The family filed suit against the hospital; this suit was recently settled for $600,000. When families find themselves in a situation where a possible wrongful death has occurred, there are options available through California’s legal system.
Source: independent.com, “Cottage Pays $600,000 in Flesh-Eating Bacteria Wrongful-Death Suit“, Kelsey Brugger, March 25, 2017