Seven-Figure Settlements for Family That Tragically Lost Two to Medical Malpractice
Alexis was born with a fused trachea and esophagus, which required several operations to separate. By 29 months, she was breathing well with the help of a ventilator and was beginning to communicate with sign language, and her family had begun making plans for her to come home from the long-term Boston rehabilitation hospital where she had lived since she was a baby.
Like all toddlers, Alexis was curious and playful, and one thing that she had begun to play with was her ventilator dials and tubing, sometimes kicking her tubing out, leaving her without a source of oxygen. Several nursing entries indicated Alexis’s playfulness with her equipment and the potential danger it created to her. And yet, the rehabilitation hospital did not formulate a treatment plan to address the danger, or tell Alexis’s parents about it.
Alexis died from respiratory failure after her tubing disconnected from her ventilator one night, and the hospital’s nursing staff failed to timely respond to the alarm that sounded. The nurse assigned to Alexis’s care was in a meeting with an insurance representative, and at least one other nurse heard the alarm but was taking care of her own patient. The hospital maintained that there were redundant monitoring systems in place, but could not explain why there was no adequate response to Alexis’s alarm.
Nine months after Alexis died, her mother Michele presented to a Worcester hospital emergency room after taking an overdose of prescription medication. About ninety minutes after she arrived, she tried to leave her room to smoke a cigarette. Hospital staff placed her in physical and chemical restraint, tying her hands to the bed and administering Haldol, an antipsychotic medication sometimes used as a sedative. Even though one known side effect of her medications was vomiting, and hospital policy required one-on-one supervision of all restrained patients, the staff left Michele unattended in a face-up position in bed. When she coughed up her medication while asleep and couldn’t breathe, no one responded until it was too late.
The Boston Globe reported that the two cases were “a lens into the unsettling and unseen world of medication errors, faulty diagnoses, delays in treatment, and other preventable mistakes in hospitals … with more than 300 people dying and another 3,000 being seriously injured every day in America because of mistakes made in the very facilities that were supposed to make them better.”
Raphaelson & Raphaelson was able to settle both cases for the family without having to go through a trial. Each was a significant, seven figure settlement.