People requiring care in a hospital emergency room are entitled to receive necessary medical attention, testing and treatment, and no detail regarding socioeconomic status or ethnicity should influence the level of care they receive. Most Louisiana residents would likely agree with this statement. However, a family in another state claims the level of care given to one of their members at a hospital emergency room did not meet the same standard applied to higher-income patients . The family subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, and the facility recently agreed to settle for $3.8 million.
Early in 2015, the then 33-year-old woman went to the hospital with her husband, as she had experienced breathing difficulty since the day before. She underwent several tests that, according to court documents, revealed evidence of life-threatening disease and heart failure. She was then given a drug that her family felt was a poor choice under the circumstances. Reportedly, the drug is a respiratory depressant and was apparently given for right hand pain.
After being discharged, the woman went into cardiac arrest in the hospital waiting room, and she has been in a coma since then. It was later discovered she suffered from a life-threatening complication of diabetes. Her family filed the complaint later that year, alleging the hospital disregarded symptoms of heart failure in the woman, who also had a known history of diabetes and kidney failure. The family claims their case follows a pattern for the hospital of providing lesser care for lower-income and indigent patients. A hospital spokesperson has asserted that the facility treats all patients equally and that the family’s claims do not align with hospital philosophy.
Unfortunately, this woman is not expected to recover, leaving three children without a mother and a man without his wife. Louisiana residents who feel they have experienced discriminatory care affecting patient outcome may wish to consult with a medical malpractice attorney who has experience in this area of the law. He or she can review case details and determine if financial compensation is a possibility.