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How Recovery in a Local Hospital’s ICU Results in Horror

By Grant Law Office on January 31, 2010

This blog is a summary of the VLOG (Video Blog) located in the Wayne Grant video library titled “How Recovery in a Local ICU Results in Horror”.

Wayne Grant – GA Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Attorney

This is a story about a case I handled which involves a local hospital where a gentleman about 50 years of age was involved in an accident and taken to the hospital. As a result of the accident, he ruptured his spleen, and a broke a bone in his leg and had to undergo surgery. Following surgery, he was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). During his prolonged recovery, he developed respiratory problems (breathing issues) and had to have a breathing tube put in. As a result of agitation that he was experiencing, probably from his prolonged hospitalization, possibly as a result from the many medications he was receiving; in an agitated state, he pulled out his breathing tube.

As a result of pulling out his breathing tube and associated leads that were there for monitoring, alarms, were supposed to sound in his room and also remotely in the nurses’ station. Nurses are supposed to listen for those alarms and respond immediately – that is required by ‘standard of care’. Unfortunately, for some reason, no one responded to the alarms when they were sounding. In fact, another nurse that was not assigned to this patient, happened to be walking down the hall, looked into the room, and saw the patient slumped over onto the side of his bed. She called out and got a resuscitation team there and when they looked at him and examined him as they were about to begin resuscitation, they noted that he was blued and modeled from the rib cage up, indicating that he had been without oxygen for several minutes. The resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful, and unfortunately, the patient died.

Hospitals, especially intensive care units, have a duty to monitor carefully. They have a duty to make sure that the alarms are audible. The alarms should be audible in the patient rooms, hallways and at the nurse’s stations. They also have a duty to make sure that the nurses respond in an immediate fashion to any sounding alarms. A sounding alarm, particularly in ICU, means there is a potential emergency.

We were able to successfully resolve this case, and hold the hospital accountable under these circumstances, for the benefit of this unfortunate widow.

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