The fire destroyed her home. She had massive smoke inhalation from the fire. She needed to be hospitalized. Because of her severe injuries she required a feeding tube. That went well for a few days until her tube needed to be cleaned.

The tube was removed and cleaned out. Unfortunately for this patient, when the tube was reinserted, it was not put back into the correct position. An x-ray taken after the tube was reinserted looked initially to be ok. 

The problem was that the patient started getting very sick after the tube had been cleaned and reinserted. Her doctors couldn't figure out why she was getting so sick. She had a raging infection. She was getting worse by the hour. Not a single doctor recognized the fact that the food she was getting through the tube was entering her abdomen instead of her stomach.

That was causing a massive internal infection known as sepsis. It went undiagnosed and untreated until she died and an autopsy was performed.

At autopsy, the medical examiner found massive quantities of the feeding material in her abdominal cavity. That's not where it was supposed to be. It was supposed to go directly into the patient's stomach. Turns out the feeding tube had not been correctly positioned and nobody at the hospital ever recognized this tragic fact.

Once the facts became clear, this tragic case was quicly settled. Importantly, the defense used an age-old argument during settlement negotiations.

They argued that she was already very sick from the smoke inhalation and likely would not have survived, even if this event had not happened.

I argued that they had no right to diminish and take away from her and her family whatever time she still had left on this earth. While it is true that she had a limited life expectancy based upon her medical condition, that did not change the fact that they caused her an untimely death.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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