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Jury awards family $7 million for man's wrongful death

In some unfortunate situations, people have to deal with the mistreatment of a family member by medical professionals. Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional fails to provide a patient with the accepted standard of care in the medical community and causes serious injury or death.

In Pennsylvania, medical malpractice cases are negligence-based cases where the harmed party has to prove that the medical professional had a duty to the patient and that that duty was breached. Moreover, the harmed party must prove that the particular breach caused the serious injury or death to the patient. In one recent lawsuit, the family of a man won a large settlement by doing just that.

In 2006, a Chicago man died from complications that resulted from the treatment of an asthma attack. In 2002, the man, who had a history of asthma and asthma attacks, was taken to the emergency room. He was admitted to the hospital and given a nebulizer treatment.

The hospital staff attending to the man believed that he was recovering. Unfortunately, when nursing staff tended to other things, his condition worsened and he went into respiratory arrest, had a heart attack, suffered permanent injury to the brain and went into a coma. He was in a coma for four years before he died.

According to testimony, the hospital failed to fully assess the victim's medical history and allegedly failed to administer a procedure which would have determined the amount of blockage in the lungs. Because of the negligence that occurred in this situation, a man lost his life. The jury sided with the victim's family and the family was awarded $7 million as a result of the wrongful death and medical malpractice claims that were filed in the case.

Cases involving medical malpractice in Pennsylvania can sometimes be quite complex, and they may require a great deal of attention to detail to show exactly how a hospital or its staff failed to meet their standard of care. However, while such cases can never bring back a loved one, they may be able to provide assistance to help address the financial effects of medical malpractice.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Family of man left alone in ER after asthma attack wins $7M judgment," Lisa Donovan, Aug. 1, 2012

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