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Husband's autopsy leads to medical malpractice claim from widow

On Nov. 28, 2011, a Louisiana woman's husband was involved in a motorcycle crash. Within hours of the accident, her husband died as a result of the injuries he suffered. On Dec. 31, 2014, the widow filed a medical malpractice claim based on the results of the autopsy done in the days after his death.

On the day of the accident, emergency medical technicians took the seriously injured rider to the hospital that employs them. The initial examination indicated that he suffered from chest and abdominal pain. As his condition continued to deteriorate, he was transferred to another hospital. However, despite the efforts of medical personnel, the motorcycle rider succumbed to his injuries.

His widow alleges that, approximately an hour after the accident, her husband was in serious respiratory distress and was unconscious before he stopped breathing and died. The autopsy determined that a broken collar bone had damaged an artery, which caused blood to pool and led to his death. She now contends that medical personnel did not do enough to save her husband's life. The lawsuit claims that his care was inadequate.

It is alleged that, if medical personnel had been faster and given him a surgical consultation, he may be alive. Moreover, she claims that resuscitation efforts were not aggressive enough. It will be up to a Louisiana court to determine whether any of the defendants were negligent in their care of the decedent. If negligence is established, an award of damages typically seen in medical malpractice claims -- such as medical expenses and grief, among others -- can then be considered.

Source: The Louisiana Record, "Widow of motorcyclist who died from accident injuries claims medical malpractice", Kyle Barnett, Feb. 26, 2015