Illinois surgery patient died from preventable choking injuries

In Joliet and throughout the entire state of Illinois, medical professionals have a duty to provide quality care to all patients. This is often referred to as the “standard of care.” When doctors do provide quality care, patients may still suffer complications or fatal injuries. But when a medical professional deviates from the standard of care in any manner, and this negligence causes a patient to suffer harm, the medical professional could be held liable for the patient’s injuries or wrongful death.

Earlier this month, a man filed a wrongful death lawsuit against an Illinois hospital. The man’s wife was a surgery patient at the hospital last year. Although his wife’s surgery at the hospital had gone well, the lawsuit states, the care his wife received while she was recovering from the procedure was inadequate. The woman never left the hospital after her surgery. Instead, the woman suffered complications from choking, and because nurses failed to make sure the complications were not life-threatening, the man’s wife died.

The lawsuit argues that nurses did not properly treat the patient after she had choked. This lack of treatment caused the woman’s condition to worsen, and ultimately caused the patient to die. While the woman was recovering from her surgery, a glucose test revealed that the woman’s blood sugar levels were very low. A nurse gave the patient some orange juice to boost her blood sugar levels. Shortly after drinking the juice, the woman vomited and aspirated on her own vomit.

A nurse simply changed the patient’s hospital gown, and when the patient seemed to recover from coughing and choking, another blood sugar test was administered. Shortly after the second test, the patient began to experience severe breathing problems and she became lethargic. Nurses called for help to try to resuscitate the patient, but it was too late.

The husband’s lawsuit claims that the hospital did not have adequate staff on hand to resuscitate his wife. He also argues that the woman’s nurses should have done more to prevent her from choking and to prevent her from suffering further complications after she did choke.

Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, “Wrongful death complaint says nurse failed to adequately treat patient who inhaled food,” Kelly Holleran, Aug. 22, 2012

Wrongful Death


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