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Medical negligence: Family awarded $29.5 million for loss

Medical tests are a supposed to be the key to discovering a diagnosis or determine a health problem, not be the end of a life. Unfortunately, many medical tests have some risks associated with their completion, but they are typically rare. Sadly, one woman in another state lost her life while undergoing a CT scan. Massachusetts's families may be interested in the family's recent civil court victory following their claim for medical negligence.

The family filed a lawsuit in civil court following the death of the 40-year-old mother. The woman consented to have a CT scan performed for a health condition that was not reported. As with some tests, an intravenous dye was required in order for the radiologist to obtain an accurate scan. It occurs rarely, but the woman suffered an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. The reaction resulted in anaphylactic shock, which is life-threatening.

The standard of care for anaphylactic shock is Benadryl and epinephrine if the Benadryl does not show a rapid reduction in symptoms. The doctor who attended to the woman administered Benadryl but did not administer epinephrine, which the lawyer argued could have saved her life.  In addition, there was no documentation that any vital signs were checked as she went into shock. Vital signs provide important information that can quickly allow a physician to determine the severity of a patient's condition. The family was recently awarded $29.5 million with each of her four children and surviving husband being awarded a specific amount of the judgment for their loss.

Although the family does not feel the compensation is a replacement for the loss of their wife and mother, they do feel that the physicians have been held accountable for their negligence. Massachusetts families who suspect they may have lost a loved one as a result of medical negligence may find some hope and closure with a civil lawsuit of their own. A medical malpractice attorney can advise a family of their legal options after reviewing the details of a case.

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