A wrongful death lawsuit resulting from the death of a newborn settled for $8.25 million. The infant was born four months early, weighing 1 pound, 8 ounces. Although premature and born with a heart condition, the infant was expected to do well and improve under hospital care. But, the little boy could not survive a medication error – an overdose of sodium chloride, a dose 60 times higher than prescribed.
The error that led to the child’s death was due to the negligence of a pharmacy technician who unwittingly typed the wrong information into a field on a screen which caused the automated machine to prepare the intravenous solution containing the massive overdose of sodium chloride. The lawsuit also stated that the hospital staff covered up the sticker on the IV bag that correctly described the amount of sodium with a sticker that displayed the doctor's original prescribed amount. The suit also alleged that the blood tests apparently showed that the baby's sodium levels were high, but doctors assumed the reading was wrong and ordered another round of test, tests that were never administered. Advocate Lutheran General Hospital agreed to settle the lawsuit for $8.25 million — the largest such settlement ever in Illinois.
To be paid $8.25 million — the largest such settlement ever in Illinois, means the hospital did not deny, delay, and defend. Although technological improvements have been instituted in order to improve medication safety, such as most hospitals do not permit doctors to hand write scripts, simply inputting a patient's prescription into a computer is not enough. Typing errors can, and do, happen there must be checks and double checks. Doctors should not be making assumptions with someone’s life. Why did the doctor assume the reading was wrong? Why weren’t the other round of tests performed?
Serious mistakes were made and a child died; if someone would have verified that the correct dosage of medication this child could be alive today. Did the hospital learn from this preventable error? Did they adopt safer measures? Yes, according to a hospital spokesperson who said that "it's taken "comprehensive steps across Advocate to ensure this type of tragedy does not happen again. “This event has only heightened our focus on patient care.” Let’s hope this is true.
Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Experienced attorney, lawsuit funding expert, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. The series consists of "Betrayal of Faith", "Betrayal of Justice", and "Betrayal in Blue", with a fourth book due out in 2019. You can learn more about these topical political, legal thrillers at markmbello.com. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.