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Anesthesia Death Caused by Nurse’s Failure to Monitor | Daytona Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Nurse’s Failure to Monitor Anesthesia Patient Results in Death

A woman died a day after routine knee surgery because her nurse ignored her after giving her anesthesia. Defense lawyers attempted to claim the woman’s death was an unavoidable result of her routine surgery and not a result of her nurse’s negligence. However, expert testimony clearly showed the Plaintiff’s theory to be the better one.

When a patient receives epidural anesthetic through an epidural catheter, the patient’s nurse is required to check on the patient every 5 minutes afterward. Instead of properly monitoring the woman, the nurse returned 45 minutes later to check on her. By that time, the woman was suffering from ventricular fibrillation.

Her malfunctioning heart could not pump blood to her brain which caused brain damage. She died three days later. The nurse then altered the woman’s medical record so that it looked like the cardiac arrest occurred less than five minutes after the anesthesia injection, but the anesthesiologist told the truth about what time the injection occurred.

This case boiled down to two different theories of what caused the woman’s death. The Plaintiffs argument was that the nurse’s failure to monitor the woman caused her death while the Defendants’ argument was that it was an unavoidable result of surgery.

The Defense relied on the statistic that the death rate after the woman’s knee surgery was about 1 in 250 for patients her age while the death rate from epidural analgesia is only 1 in 20,000. The Defense argued that since deaths caused by knee surgeries are far more common than those caused by anesthesia reactions, then the surgery was more likely to be the cause.

However, the Defendants’ analysis was incomplete and skewed to give the results they wanted. The complete analysis showed the anesthesia to be the much more likely cause of death. The Defendants failed to explain that the surgery deaths occur over a 30 day period of time, whereas the woman’s death took place within 45 minutes of the anesthesia injection.

A correct analysis considers the time period within which the death occurred. The correct analysis must ask what was the risk of death from the surgery during the 45 minute period? In a 30 day period there are 960 X 45 minute periods. Thus during any 45 minute period, the risk of death caused by surgery is only 1 in 240,000. That is 12 times greater than the anesthesia death rate which means that the probability that the woman died from anesthesia is 92%.
Defendants will stop at nothing to avoid liability for your injury. They will play with statistics and omit analyses. Make sure your lawyer understands this tactic and is equipped to combat it.

We have the experienced Daytona Medical Malpractice Attorney to help you on your questions and concerns.


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