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.
A 5-year-old boy had to fight for his life after a local pharmacy mixed up his prescription with one for an adult patient with the same name. Instead of providing a medication for allergies the boy was given a strong anti-psychotic drug with dosing instructions for an adult. His parents became concerned after he took the first dose and slept for two full days. When he woke up his parents called the paramedics to treat a swollen neck. Later he fainted and his parents brought him to the hospital where the mistake was eventually detected.
A breakdown in the proper sterilization process for surgical instruments resulted in 18 patients being exposed to a fatal brain disease. The error occurred at a hospital treating a patient who was suspected of having a rare disease called Creuzfeld-Jakob disease, which is similar to Mad Cow disease. When patients are suspected of having this condition hospital staff are required to put surgical instruments through a more intense sterilization process that destroys proteins linked to the disease. Instead in this case the instruments went through the normal sterilization process and were subsequently used on 18 other patients.
A recent occurrence in the neonatal unit of a hospital should put New Jersey hospitals on alert. When a young mother gave birth to premature twins in May 2013, a Las Vegas hospital allegedly failed to diagnose a contagious lung disease that the woman had, allowing her to continue visiting her babies in the hospital after being discharged. According to state health officials, this led to an outbreak of tuberculosis that has affected dozens of people, some fatally.
When a mistake happens in a hospital setting the consequences can be extremely serious, ranging from a bodily injury to a potential fatality. Among medical professionals this is a worst case scenario, but unfortunately it does still happen from time to time. One major issues surrounding hospital mistakes and doctor errors is the low level of reporting and the lack of communication about mistakes that were made. Some speculate that this is for fear of liability in a civil suit, but studies have suggested that more open reporting standards actually decrease the overall level of errors that result in an injury or death.