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Cook County dialysis clinic blamed for patient’s wrongful death

After living in a nursing home for nearly a year, one Illinois woman’s five children were able to devise a plan to bring their mother home while also making sure that the 65-year-old woman continued to receive the medical attention and treatment she needed. “It was just…complete,” one of the woman’s daughters stated after her mother was able to leave the nursing home. The woman and her children were finally able to enjoy some normal family time together.

Before their mother was able to leave the nursing home, the family needed to find a medical center that they could take their mother to three times a week for kidney dialysis treatments. The woman’s five adult children settled on a clinic in Cook County, and they began taking turns bringing their mother to the clinic for dialysis treatments in March 2009. But during the first week of the woman’s treatments, a fatal mistake was made at the clinic. After trying to piece together what happened to their mother, the family filed a wrongful death claim against the dialysis center.

Everything seemed to be going well for the family at first after bringing their mother home. But during the woman’s third dialysis treatment at a center in Berwyn, staff informed the family that their mother had been transferred to a hospital.

On March 10, 2009, the woman died after her family made the decision to take her off of life-support. Doctors informed the family that nothing could be done to reverse the mistakes that had been made during the last dialysis treatment. However, at the time, the dialysis center had yet to explain what sorts of mistakes were made.

The family eventually sought legal representation after they claimed that no one would explain what happened during the last dialysis treatment that caused their mother to suffer fatal injuries. After filing a lawsuit, the family discovered that a technician at the clinic had reversed the patient’s dialysis lines without the proper qualifications to do so. This caused the woman to begin hemorrhaging, which also prompted the dialysis machine to signal an alarm. The lawsuit claimed that the alarm was ignored, causing the woman’s condition to worsen.

The family did recently reach a settlement with the clinic. Although the clinic claims that it was not at fault for the woman’s fatal injuries, the family did eventually get some answers regarding what happened to their mother during her third dialysis treatment after leaving the nursing home.

Source: NBC Chicago, “Gayton Family vs. Fresenius Medical Care,” Katy Smyser, April 20, 2012


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