When talking about medical malpractice many often get caught up in the nationwide (and worldwide) statistics on the subject. Numbers are tossed about which reveal the scope of the problem in terms of total lives lost, patients, injured, and money spent as a result of preventable medical mistakes. However, when working each day with the actual people involved in these situations, it is impossible for a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer not to get a personal perspective on the cases. At the end of the day, beyond the statistics, each and every instance of medical malpractice affects real people, real families, and real friends. When working on ways to address the issue and make hospitals safer, it is perhaps most important to share individual stories of heartache to reveal how serious the problem remains.
Last week the New York Daily News published just such a personal story about medical malpractice. It involved an interview with a man who explains how his father had beaten the odds on so many occasions through his life, only to pass away as the result of a preventable medical error. The victim was a Holocaust survivor who had assumed multiple identities during the war in an effort to survive. His exploits were eventually written up in the acclaimed book, “On Burning Ground.”
The man died last year after having heart trouble. According to his son, the victim was admitted to a local hospital for pneumonia. He ultimately stayed at the facility for six days before dying of heart failure. According to scathing criticism that the son wrote and submitted in a complaint to the state health department, the medical caregivers made a series of mistakes that led to his death. He accuses staff members at the facility of misreading diagnostic test results. In addition, he suggested that the staff members made a critical error when they bound the man’s hands after he pulled a tube out of his nose. The victim’s son explains that with his hands bound, the older man was thrown into a state of panic and terror which only mad his medical situations much worse.
Following the complaint, the state health department has launched an investigation to determine if any mistakes were made during the man’s stay there which may have contributed to his death. A hospital spokesperson refused to comment on the situation, noting that patient confidentiality rules prohibited it. However, it was noted that the hospital in question treats more Holocaust survivors than any other in the nation.
The man’s sudden and sad death at the medical facility put an end to a life that had begun in 1921 in Poland. In 1941, when he was only twenty years old, the man engaged in daunting exploits to survive a massacre in his hometown. Over that time he took the identity of a Nazi soldier and American Christian. He eventually survived the war and moved to the United States where he raised a family.
Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers send sincere condolences to all those involved in this case. Obviously the loss of a loved one under any circumstance is difficult. Yet, the healing process is often made worse when those involved know that the loved one might still be around had the care they received from medical professionals been up to a reasonable level. Dozens (perhaps hundreds) of lives are affected by each and every case of Illinois medical malpractice. All of those individual stories should be shared in a continuing effort to improve patient safety.
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