Misdiagnosis is a leading cause of death in the US. In this case, the family of a young mother who died giving birth filed a wrongful death suit in order to provide the baby with some financial security and to deal with the cost of raising the child for the mother.
The unfortunate mother was a child herself; she was only 20 years old when she died. She was the first person in Franklin County, Ohio to die as a result of H1N1. Her baby was delivered prematurely just prior to her death and is being cared for by relatives. Her death might have been prevented if doctors on duty the day she was sent home had paid more attention to her symptoms instead of assuming her illness was pregnancy related.
Apparently, the victim was violently ill and went to the hospital seeking help for her symptoms. She was examined and released three hours later, without treatment or medication. The doctor on duty did not raise H1N1 nor did he prescribe Tamiflu, which is the appropriate Centers for Disease Control protocol for anyone presenting with flu-like symptoms. More than 57 million Americans suffered from H1N1 between April and January, and more than 11,000 people died as a result of complications from the virus.
Three days after her initial visit, the mother’s illness had progressed to the point where she was finally admitted to a hospital. She died on September 3rd, 2009 after her daughter was born. The wrongful death lawsuit argues that the care she receivedat Dublin Methodist Hospital was well below accepted standards for medical care given the presenting symptoms.
This is, first and foremost, a tragedy. If the hospital failed to properly treat this young woman, they should be held accountable. But, it seems to me, as I read too many articles about too many senseless tragedies, that patients and their families are far too trusting and passive when it comes to their medical care, treatment and diagnosis. It is one thing to listen to and trust a long-time family doctor; it is another to blindly accept the treatment, diagnosis and prognosis of a busy emergency staff doctor and/ or nurses. We need to be far more proactive in our care and treatment; if your symptoms and complaints are falling on deaf ears, make your case for treatment! You do not need to be rude, but you may need to be more forceful. An alternative is to go to another hospital and seek a second opinion. This is not another "blame the victim" message; it is an appeal to common sense. Remember, if something like this is happening to you, it is your body, your illness, your symptoms. This unfortunate young lady deserved better; she deserved an opportunity to live a long life and raise her children. Her infant child deserved to know her mother. The victim knew how poorly she was feeling on the day that Dublin released her; I am simply saying that she (assuming it was possible; I am not saying it was, in this case) should have seized the opportunity to make them feel what she felt and reassess her condition.
This lawsuit will be hard fought; a conclusion to such contentious litigation will, most likely, take years. Relatives must care for the victim’s now, one-year old child. Caring for a baby is expensive and the bills for her care must continue to mount in addition to the other expenses any household would have. Raising a small child is a significant investment of time and money.
When tragedy strikes, whether in the form of serious injury or, as here, wrongful death, a lawsuit cash advance may provide needed, no risk, financial assistance; lawsuit funding is often arranged with 48 hours or less; it may make the wait for justice easier to bear. This is because lawsuit funding is provided before a case is resolved and will often prevent a victim or a victim’s family from resolving the case too soon, for too little.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.