Legendary comedian Joan Rivers passed away on September 4th after she experienced cardiac arrest during what was supposed to be a routine medical procedure to examine her throat. The medical examiner found that she died of brain damage, which was brought about by a lack of oxygen, according to news reports.
Ms. Rivers went to a medical clinic to have a routine endoscopy to evaluate changes in her voice and deal with an acid reflux problem she was experiencing. However, numerous patient care violations and irregularities occurred during the procedure, according to an inquiry by investigators for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Specifically, the federal investigation allegedly found that Ms. Rivers’ body weight was never recorded, which is required to determine the proper dose of anesthesia. It also allegedly found that the anesthesiologist later changed the medical record to say that Ms. Rivers received only 120 mg of Propofol, rather than the initially entered amount of 300 mg., which is significant because at higher doses Propofol can cause breathing to stop. (This is the same drug that killed singer Michael Jackson.)
The investigation also found that one of the doctors who performed a procedure on Ms. Rivers was not authorized to practice medicine at the clinic where the surgery was being performed.
On top of all of that, according to the government’s report, Ms. Rivers’ blood pressure and pulse decreased dangerously during the operation at between 9:12 and 9:26 a.m. However, CPR apparently was not started until 9:28 a.m. at the earliest. The report then concluded, “The physician in charge of the care of the patient failed to identify deteriorating vital signs and provide timely intervention during the procedure.”
Failure To Monitor Appropriate Vital Signs
When an adult or child requires medical care, one of the most important roles a nurse, doctor, or other health care provider has is to watch the patient for changes in his or her condition. This requires being aware how the patient is doing and recognizing early clinical signs of deterioration.
For over 100 years, health care providers have monitored patients’ status by checking their vital signs, which traditionally include:
- body temperature
- pulse (heart rate)
- blood pressure
- breathing rate (respiratory rate)
- pain level
Medical research has shown that correct and timely interpretation of data from vital sign assessments is essential in determining the level of care a patient requires, providing proper treatment, and preventing a patient from deteriorating from an otherwise preventable cause. If a doctor, nurse, or other health care worker fails to provide the level of monitoring that a reasonably prudent health care provider would provide under the circumstances, that person may be held responsible for any injuries caused by their negligence.
Tallahassee Legal Help For Medical Malpractice Claims
Appropriate monitoring of vital signs is critical to proper patient care. However, when vital signs are not consistently assessed, recorded, or interpreted, it can interfere with appropriate and timely medical intervention needed by a sick, injured, or otherwise deteriorating patient.
If you or a loved one did not receive adequate medical treatment, it is important to protect your legal rights as soon as possible in order to not miss out on your chance for a financial recovery. Acting quickly also will prevent valuable evidence from possibly being lost or destroyed.
The Tallahassee medical malpractice attorneys at Barrett, Fasig & Brooks are knowledgeable and skilled at gathering the necessary proof in order to help our clients obtain maximum financial recovery for their injuries. Call us today at (850) 224-3310 or use our online contact form for prompt, smart legal assistance.