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South Carolina hospital settles malpractice case

Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill has settled a malpractice case with a victim's family for $2.2 million. The victim in the case died due to surgical complications during a pacemaker implantation. This comes shortly after the hospital settled a separate malpractice case in March for $2.3 million. A spokeswoman for the hospital said that the medial malpractice case was uncommon for her hospital, which BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina recently recognized for its cardiac care.

The 68-year-old victim in the case went to have the pacemaker implanted on Feb. 10, 2010. In many cases, pacemaker implantation doesn't even require a patient to stay the night. However, she died because the doctors inserted a breathing tube improperly and also failed to monitor her oxygen levels. The complaint cites two times during the surgery when the patient's oxygen levels became dangerously low.

Oxygen levels below 90 percent can be dangerous to patients under sedation. At one point during the surgery, the patient's oxygen level dropped to 80 percent. It took four minutes for the medical team to react to that drop. The team stopped and discovered the breathing tube wasn't placed correctly. However, they once again placed the tube incorrectly when reinserting it. After this, the medical team didn't check oxygen levels for 19 minutes. By that time the level had dropped to 50 percent. The patient died minutes later.

The lawsuit also claims that the doctors tried to cover up their mistakes by telling the family that the patient's death was inevitable due to her respiratory problems. Despite this, the family was still able to discover what actually happened to their loved one, get the compensation they deserved and hold the responsible parties accountable. A medical malpractice attorney may be able to help others who suspect doctor negligence may be to blame for their injuries or their loved ones death.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "Rock Hill hospital settles second major malpractice case this year ", Jie Jenny Zou, August 07, 2013

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