In the medical profession, accuracy is vitally important. A recent jury verdict demonstrates how high the stakes can be - a wrongful death lawsuit ended in a $140 million verdict after a medical transcription error resulted in a patient's unnecessary death.
The defendant, a large hospital, allowed its medical transcription contractor to further outsource its services to Mumbai and New Delhi, India. One of these overseas workers made a deadly mistake on this patient's records. Because of this error, the patient's prescription called for 80 units of an insulin medication - 10 times the actual dosage prescribed by her doctor.
Back in the United States, another care facility followed those instructions and administered all 80 units. This medication error caused severe blood-sugar related brain damage and a fatal cardiopulmonary arrest.
While one would expect any healthcare center to have procedures in place to catch potentially fatal mistakes, this hospital did not.
One big mistake involved the hospital's failure to comply with its own policies - not to mention federal patient safety rules. These standards say that hospitals cannot rely on certain documents to write admission or medication orders to another facility. But that appears to be exactly what this hospital did when it discharged this patient to a rehabilitation center.
This case illustrates a second common problem that appears in many medical malpractice stories. The hospital agreed to outsource its transcription services to India in order to save a marginal amount of money. Hospital managers took this step despite a clear record of inaccurate transcriptions by the same contractor companies.
Unfortunately, stories like this are all too common. A Detroit medical malpractice lawyer with extensive national experience can help families who find themselves in similar situations.
Source: WKRG News, "$140 Million Verdict in Baldwin County," Dec. 14, 2012; ABC News, "Ala. Hospital Must Pay $140M in Ex-Patient's Death," Bay Minette, Dec. 15, 2012