Ten years ago, paramedics rushed a Chicago man who was suffering from a severe asthma attack to a local hospital so that he could receive life-saving treatment. However, the treatment he received was anything but adequate, a wrongful death lawsuit later stated.
A couple of weeks ago, a jury concluded that hospital negligence did indeed contribute to the man’s death. After a three-week trial, a jury agreed that the patient had been left alone for too long without any monitoring. During this time, the patient’s asthma attack worsened, causing severe complications that left him in a coma.
The man never came out of his coma. He died four years later. To compensate the man’s family for their tragic loss, the jury concluded that the family should be awarded $7 million for their pain, suffering and other damages. The family may certainly be relieved to finally have their case resolved, but the compensation for damages will never make up for the hospital’s mistake.
According to the lawsuit, the Chicago man was treated immediately by emergency room staff when he was taken to Holy Cross Hospital for an asthma attack. Staff gave the man a nebulizer treatment to get his asthma attack under control. But instead of monitoring the patient to make sure that his condition continued to improve, the man was left alone for half an hour.
By the time staff went to check on the man, he had already suffered respiratory arrest and cardiac arrest. These complications caused permanent injuries including brain damage. The patient lapsed into a coma and died four years later. The man’s widow said that she never thought her husband’s asthma attack could lead to fatal injuries, especially since he was taken to the hospital in time before his attack could worsen without treatment. Tragically, her husband didn’t get the treatment he should have.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Family of man left alone in ER after asthma attack wins $7M judgment,” Lisa Donovan, Aug. 2, 2012