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Hospital lockout leads to wrongful death

While Ohio is no stranger to wrongful death suits, we can certainly learn from the goings on in other states across the country. Unfortunately for one patient in California last month, there was nothing she or her family could have done to prevent her wrongful death. Following a nurse's lockout at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, one patient received a lethal dose of medication as a result of nursing errors.

While there is no dispute over whether or not this was a case of an error on behalf of the nursing staff, the death may not have occurred if the hospital had not been on a nurse's lockout.

Nearly 23,000 nurses walked out of their jobs on Thursday, September 22, over the labor dispute, and tried to return to work the next day but were locked out. Had they been allowed entry, the patient in question may not have received the lethal dose that killed her only two days after the walkout began.

The reason the nurses were not allowed back in on Friday was due to the fact that the hospital had already hired temporary replacements until the dispute could be resolved. The hospital had contracted to pay for temporary nurses for a set number of days, and if they had allowed the regular staff back in, the hospital would have been out that money. The death is now being investigated by Oakland police, the coroner's office and the Department of Public Health.

It seems the bigger the business of healthcare becomes, an increase of malpractice coincides. If you live in Ohio, you will likely not be directly affected by the Oakland hospital labor dispute, but the decision about where to obtain medical treatment is imperative and relatable. Doctor and nursing errors are sadly more common than most would like to believe, and more and more hospitals seem to be putting their bottom line before their patients. Medical malpractice suits can take years to collect, but sound legal representation may be able to help expedite the process.

Source: MariettaTimes, "Patient died during Calif Nurse Labor dispute," Sept. 26, 2011

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