For one man, driving from his home in a neighboring state into Pennsylvania every weekend has become a part of his routine. He brings his wife to a rehabilitation center where she receives treatment and therapy after suffering permanent brain damage at the hands of negligent hospital staff.
Five years ago, the man sued the hospital, a nurse, and a physician for medical malpractice, claiming that his wife's injury was the result of their mistake. He alleged that when his wife went to the hospital to be treated for low sodium levels, the physician and nurse increased her sodium levels too quickly causing brain damage.
Doctors and nurses know from their training and education that patients suffering from low sodium levels need a slow increase of sodium over a period of 24 hours. However when the levels rise too quickly, the patient can suffer serious injuries as this woman did.
The woman, a high school calculus teacher prior to the brain injury, now needs daily care. She has limited physical movement and struggles to speak and form sentences. Her family has come along side her and taken over the household chores and tasks so that she can focus on recovering.
Just this month, the medical malpractice lawsuit came to a close when a jury decided that the woman and her family deserved a multi-million dollar award. The compensation will help pay for medical expenses, future home care, and other needs that the family will undoubtedly have as a result of the woman's brain damage.
While her family is excited that the compensation will allow wife and mother of five to live at home, they may have to wait a while for this to become a reality. The hospital is appealing the decision on the grounds that the brain injury was not the result of the physician and nurse's negligence.
Source: NJ.com, "Montague family awarded $34M in malpractice suit after mother suffers brain damage," Ben Horowitz, 20 July 2011