Families often feel relief hearing news from a surgeon that a loved one has successfully survived and stabilized after surgery. Once a patient is moved to a regular room, the family’s worry is likely to subside, and they may not be aware that many dangers still exist from the surgery. Bowel obstructions, blood clots, pneumonia, infection and death are some of the main risks that exist during recovery. Some risks are naturally a part of surgery, but some may come from hospital negligence via inadequate care and monitoring by staff. A recent review of medical cases in Louisiana and the rest of the country revealed an alarming phenomenon of patients being found dead in their beds after surgery.
The phenomenon known as “Dead in Bed” happens after a patient has been deemed stable to be transferred to a regular floor after surgery. The review revealed that patients can be found unexpectedly dead even just hours after a surgery. In cases that hospital staff become aware of a patient’s pending distress, some do survive but with severe brain damage.
Opioid administration used to manage the pain caused by surgery is suspected to a contributing factor to “Dead in Bed” cases. While opioids are essential and helpful with the pain management, they have many side effects, including respiratory depression. Opioids can slow and cause shallow breaths reducing oxygen flow to the brain and the rest of the body. At times they can reduce breathing and oxygen flow to the point of death.
The review reported patients whose oxygen was monitored continuously after surgery were less likely to be found “Dead in Bed” following surgery. Not all hospitals monitor all patient’s oxygen levels continuously after surgery despite the technology being available. The review also found that lawsuits filed for hospital negligence for “Dead in Bed” cases can often bring damages as high as $7 million to families and patients. Losing a loved one unexpectedly after surgery can be devastating, heartbreaking and may leave a family with unexpected medical and funeral expenses. An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Louisiana can inform families of their litigation rights if they suspect they have lost a loved one in a similar situation.
Source: newsnet5.com, ““Dead in Bed” cases result in rising malpractice lawsuits nationwide“, Ron Regan, Dec. 21, 2016