Emergency Department: Hospital Liable for Failure to Communicate and Follow Chest Pain Protocols

February 13, 2019 | Risk Management News

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​A North Carolina court of appeals ordered a new trial against a hospital with regard to the amount of damages to be awarded to the estate of a deceased patient for his alleged pain and suffering. The patient was found dead at home from an apparent ischemic cardiac event. Several hours previously, he had been discharged to home from the defendant hospital's emergency department (ED). The patient's estate sued the hospital alleging medical negligence and administrative negligence, for lack of communication and failure to follow hospital protocol for patients presenting with chest pain.

The hospital, in its unsuccessful defense at trial, attempted to blame the decedent, alleging contributory negligence for his alleged failure to tell the attending physician that an emergency medical technician (EMT) had given him aspirin and nitroglycerin for his chest pain en route to the ED. The hospital also claimed that the plaintiff's expert medical witness should...

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