When you are admitted to the hospital in Philadelphia with an emergency, you expect medical personnel to treat you quickly and thoroughly. Oftentimes the difference between life and death can be mere minutes and even seconds. This is why it is important for doctors to diagnose problems as quickly as possible and then go to work treating them.
One 62-year-old woman died because doctors failed to treat her in a timely manner. The womanâ€™s aorta was impaled by a broken rib, causing her to go into cardiac arrest and die. The woman broke several ribs when she fell off a ladder at her home. She was taken to the local hospital where a scan revealed that one rib was broken in such a manner that a sharp edge of it was sitting close to her aorta.
The woman was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital, but instead of taking a chest X-ray, doctors said it could wait until morning, despite the fact that she had a bad cough. The next morning, the womanâ€™s rib went into her aorta when she coughed. The autopsy showed she had a hole in her aorta near the tip of the broken rib.
Her family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the two doctors, and after two weeks in trial, the doctors settled with the family for $4.5 million. Although no amount of money can make up for their loved oneâ€™s loss, hopefully the womanâ€™s family will be able to use the money to pay for her funeral and medical costs.
Source: The Boston Globe, â€œMGH doctors to pay $4.5m over death,â€ Jacqueline Tempera, April 16, 2014