According to a Boston Globe report, over hundred patients have died due to malfunctioning ventilators in hospitals since 2005. Moreover, an FDA study revealed close to 800 ventilator alarm errors detected in 2010 alone! A large proportion of these errors was regarded human negligence and could have been avoided.
Common reasons for ventilator malfunction in hospitals
Some commonly reported problems related to ventilator malfunction in hospitals are as follows:
· Often times, hospital staff such as nurses fail to use ventilator alarms accurately or fail to hear alarms and respond to patient needs in a timely manner.
· The hospital staff silences the alarm without responding to the problem.
· The ventilator malfunctions and alarms do not go off.
· When recalled, many times the ventilator manufacturers find the alarms in proper working condition, thus indicating that either the hospital staff does not know how to use the alarms or they are negligent in their duties in spite of adequate training.
Fatal consequences of ventilator malfunction
A common phenomenon known as alarm fatigue can often desensitize nurses or other hospital staff to alarm sounds, which is the primary cause of ventilator-related errors in the hospital. Generally ventilator alarms are set to warn the caregiver that the tube is filled with mucus, the tube has been disconnected, the air pressure is either too high or too low; or the ventilator has suddenly stopped. Each of these conditions requires immediate medical attention. A ventilator alarm error can cause patients to die.
The hospital's liability for all emergency-care equipment
The hospital staff has a legal responsibility to ensure that all such equipment are in proper working conditions at all times. When a close family member or a friend suffers or dies due to ventilator malfunction in a hospital, you have the right to approach a New York based medical malpractice attorney to discuss the case. Proving a malpractice related to a ventilator is not always easy to prove, but here are the logical steps that one needs to follow while contemplating such a case.
Investigate the statute of limitations in New York State
Medical malpractice cases in US are bound by state-specific "statute of limitations," which provides a fixed time limit for filing the malpractice suit following the event. If a client fails to file the suit within the stipulated time limit, then he or she will lose all claims to the case. So it is imperative that the patient's family member first finds out if the statute of limitations in New York permits the case to be filed.
Discuss Your Case with a Medical Malpractice Attorney
The malpractice attorney will carefully review the evidentiary documents and eye-witness accounts related to the case to determine whether the damages suffered by the patient were direct results of human negligence or equipment failure. In case of human negligence, a certificate of merit will have to be issued by a health expert to validate that the caregiver did not follow standard medical procedures while handling the ventilator.
Based on the certificate of merit, the attorney will then file a malpractice case. Many times, because of the time and cost involved in pursuing a legal procedure, the affected party may agree to an out-of-court settlement with the hospital or ventilator manufacturer.
RMFW Law knows how to win cases
If your close family member or friend has suffered or died due to a ventilator malfunction while in hospital, contact a medical malpractice law firm like Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law by calling 212-344-1000. They provide free consultation (the first meeting is free) and an honest evaluation of your case.
If your case has merit then it has life with RMFW Law!
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