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Medical malpractice in South Jersey happens daily. From failures to remove items left inside a patient after surgery to improper handwashing techniques, people suffer needlessly at the hands of negligent hospital staff. One of the most alarming trends in medical malpractice is what has been termed ‘dead in bed.’
Dead in bed is the term applied after a patient has undergone a successful surgery and passes away during recovery in a low-risk unit of the hospital. Such cases have become common. In fact, a special dead in bed registry has been established to track cases nationwide. By some estimates, at least 50,000 patients have been declared dead in bed in the last decade from such hospital negligence.
The underlying cause of dead in bed has been known to the medical community at least since 2012. The Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert published that year identified opioid use as a key element in the condition. Opioid use has increased in recent decades as hospitals are rated by patients and the Federal government based on the ability to manage pain. Many of these pain killers are known to cause rapid and dangerous drops in oxygenation levels.
The reason dead in bed becomes malpractice is because hospitals have been warned of the risks, yet have largely ignored the findings and practical steps which may be taken to prevent sudden death. A simple, low-cost device known as a pulse oximetry monitor would alert staff to sudden drops in oxygen levels.
Other factors which weigh on the issue have also been largely ignored by hospitals. These include underlying conditions such as sleep apnea and inadequate training of staff regarding the risks associated with opioids and a depressed respiratory system. Opioids are often improperly prescribed, improperly mixed, and misunderstood by medical staff. The most common opioids used are fentanyl, morphine, and Dilaudid.
Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. are here for you when someone you love has passed away under such circumstances. We help the families of those lost in South Jersey and Pennsylvania. You may contact us online or by phone now 856-354-9444.