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Family of Ebola victim of hospital negligence accept settlement

Justice for New Jersey victims of medical malpractice is often sought through the successful litigation of a medical malpractice lawsuit. While this might be the most common option, some institutions or physicians accused of hospital negligence may be willing to reach a settlement in order to keep a potential lawsuit out of the equation. An out-of-state hospital recently did just that, and it has caught the attention of many people in the United States.

The first United States fatality from the deadly Ebola virus occurred in Oct. 2014, as we last discussed on Oct. 21, 2014 ("Failure to diagnose may have contributed to Ebola Victim's death"). The man visited the emergency room with a fever and reported that he had recently visited an area of Africa that is currently experiencing an outbreak of Ebola. Instead of being admitted to the hospital, he was sent home with antibiotics. Only days later he returned in an ambulance and did not survive.

Believing that the hospital had acted negligently in the care of the victim, rumors surfaced that his family might file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Now, it appears that a lawsuit wasn't necessary, as the hospital that treated the man has offered the family an undisclosed amount. In addition to compensatory damages, it has also announced that it will establish a foundation in the victim's memory. Its purpose is to give much needed help for fighting back against the Ebola virus in the African country of Liberia.

While successful medical malpractice claims usually include compensation for related medical bills, the hospital has stated that the victim's family will not be charged for his medical care in addition to the settlement that they are receiving. For those who are unable to garner this type of settlement without a claim, New Jersey victims of hospital negligence and their families can still pursue a similar type of recourse for damages by commencing a medical malpractice claim. If successfully litigated, victims may receive compensation for medical bills and for pain and suffering, along with related financial losses recognized by applicable laws.

Source:, "Ebola victim's family, hospital reach settlement", Emily Schmall, Nov. 12, 2014

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Alan D. Bell
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