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California wrongful death suit may improve hospital care

Medical facilities hold a position of trust. When people in California go to hospitals or medical centers for help, they depend on the doctors and nurses to treat them with dignity and care. However, the daughter of an elderly woman who died in a local hospital believes her mother was treated as a disposable person because of her age. They are suing the hospital for wrongful death.

The 93-year-old woman arrived at the hospital complaining of a stomach ache. Apparently, after admitting her, the nurse on duty did not assess the woman's pain level. Nevertheless, the nurse gave the elderly woman a dose of a potent narcotic. For some reason, the nurse failed to report this to the other nurses or the doctor on duty. As a result, the patient was given additional painkillers, which sent her into respiratory arrest.

A statement from the hospital acknowledged the unfortunate incident. It said that the state had investigated the hospital's policies and methods following the woman's death. The hospital has since complied with state recommendations to correct procedures and instituted better training for the staff. While noting that corrective action has taken place, the Department of Public Health says the hospital is still to blame for the woman's death.

The daughter of the elderly patient will not disclose the amount of money she is seeking from the hospital. What she believes is more important is that medical malpractice lawsuits may prevent such tragedies from happening in California in the future. The wrongful death of her mother may bring hospital changes that could save someone else's life.  

Source:, "Clovis Community Medical Center sued for malpractice in elderly woman's death", Gene Haagenson, Aug. 12, 2016

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