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Hospital patient suffers brain injury after throat swells shut

Many Joliet residents may associate brain injuries with concussions suffered during sporting events or serious accidents involving slips, trips and falls. However, another common cause of a brain injury is medical negligence.

Lack of oxygen or lack of blood flow to the brain are serious problems that may cause a patient to suffer a disabling or fatal brain injury. These injuries may occur when doctors fail to recognize when patients are losing blood flow or oxygen to the brain, or when doctors make mistakes that cause patients to lose blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

Recently, a lawsuit was filed against a hospital for allegedly causing a patient to die from a severe brain injury she had suffered while she was receiving treatment for throat problems. The lawsuit states that hospital workers should have recognized that the woman’s condition was very serious and that she was at risk of not getting enough oxygen. However, the hospital failed to provide the patient with the urgent treatment she had needed.

The patient went to the emergency room in October 2010 because she was experiencing a number of concerning symptoms. The patient’s throat was sore and she was having trouble swallowing. She had pain in her neck, her neck was swollen, and she had a severe headache. A CT scan was performed, and the scan showed that the top of the woman’s throat was narrowing. To treat the condition, the woman was prescribed a pain medication.

The patient was put in an in-patient room so she could be seen by an ear, nose and throat specialist. But by the next day, the woman’s condition worsened. Her air way closed completely, depriving her of oxygen. She suffered a severe brain injury that eventually resulted in her death several days after seeking treatment for her throat problems.

The woman’s daughter, who filed the medical malpractice lawsuit, wants the hospital and its doctors to be held accountable for her mother’s death. The lawsuit argues that doctors should have acknowledged how severe the patient’s condition was. Had doctors treated the patient immediately, the patient’s brain injury might have never occurred.

Source: The Louisiana Record, “Daughter of woman who died from brain damage after airway swollen shut sues hospital,” Kyle Barnett, April 15, 2013


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