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Man’s death in hospital lobby prompts lawsuit

It is of course never okay for a patient to die due to negligent actions of health care providers. There are however some situations that are more egregious than others. A failure to diagnose a condition is bad enough. What about when the patient's condition is fairly clear and yet the patient is told that he or she can leave the emergency room and follow-up with his or her own doctor? And what if that person dies before that can happen?

The family of a resident of an east coast state other than Pennsylvania recently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit after the man died while waiting for a ride home. The man, who had a history of heart problems, apparently passed away while sitting in a chair in the lobby of the hospital. He had visited the hospital's emergency room with heart attack signs and was told he should return to his home. When he was discovered the following morning, he was returned to the emergency room where he was declared dead.

By the time the man was found sitting in one of the lobby chairs, he had reportedly been there for so long that rigor mortis had begun to set in.

In addition to wrongful death, the lawsuit also alleges negligence. The man's family asserts that with his health history and the symptoms he presented with at the hospital, the prudent action would have been to admit him so that he could be observed. This admittance could possibly have saved his life.

When someone this young dies in a situation such as this one, the deceased often leaves loved ones in financial situations that are less than ideal. A successful civil lawsuit such as this one could provide them with the funds necessary for them to move forward with their lives.

Source: NBC 10 Philadelphia, "Family Sues Hospital After Man Dies in ER Lobby," David Chang, Sept. 21, 2012

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