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Doctor and hospital sued for death of student athlete

Months after a 16-year-old male high school student broke two vertebrae and was paralyzed in an accident during a school wrestling practice, he was hospitalized because of problems with his catheter. He had previously been able to return to school after undergoing extensive rehab. A wrongful death lawsuit blames the hospital and the doctor assigned to oversee his case, as well as the hospital's board with the responsibility for his death after he was prematurely discharged. His mother contends that it was a physician mistake to not even examine her son before his discharge.

She also argues that the hospital should have monitored him better and not discharged him at a time when he was struggling to try to breathe. Other alleged negligence includes giving the youth a type of medication for pain that made it more difficult to breathe. He was already under a disadvantage as to respiratory strength because of his lingering paralysis.

The lawsuit claims that the boy's patient chart was not properly updated, so his current breathing rate and heart rate were not known by some hospital personnel. As he was released from the hospital a day later without a doctor's prior examination, he was unsteady and dizzy. He even reported seeing lights and stars, which indicated a low oxygen level that should have indicated to hospital staff that releasing him was premature.

Hours later, he stopped breathing altogether, and by the time he could be returned to the hospital, it was too late. The student had died. Recovery is being sought for funeral and medical expenses, as well as other undisclosed damages. Such medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits are just in seeking compensation for the victim's family, but can also help to deter similar future tragedies by prompting hospitals, their personnel, and doctors to be more careful when overseeing the care of patients.

Ohio families who are dealing with similar tragedies may want to seek the guidance and advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Learning more about legal options that are available may prompt a medical malpractice lawsuit that seeks compensation for the hospital's and doctor's negligence.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Mother of Wyoming student wrestler sues hospital" The Associated Press, Dec. 25, 2013

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