Medical Error Leaves Family With Unanswered Questions

Research has found that 440,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors each year. 

Olivia was a senior in high school in Santa Monica, California, an accomplished scholar, actress, and musician who had earned early acceptance to Smith College. Olivia was born with a congenital heart condition that was monitored throughout her childhood. 

The fall that Olivia was supposed to start college, she underwent a routine procedure to help doctors figure out if she could be considered for a surgery that would improve her condition. 

The procedure was completed without complications, but while Olivia was still under anesthesia, a cardiology fellow-in-training pulled the catheter lines, causing Olivia’s heart rate, pulse, and blood pressure to drop rapidly. Even though her vitals were dropping, hospital staff waited more than 10 minutes before attempting resuscitation. But it was too late. 

Olivia would never regain consciousness and died that winter, never having lived her dream and attending college. 

Her future was stolen from her, and immediately her family tried to understand what had gone wrong. They began to ask questions on how this could have happened, but they were given very few answers from the hospital. 

Finally, the hospital gave her family incomplete medical records to sift through and find answers. They sought the help of an attorney because, despite their best efforts, they still did not fully understand what caused their daughter’s death. But due to California’s out dated $250,000 cap on medical negligence damages, it was nearly impossible to find one.

Olivia’s life was cut short by a preventable medical error, and unfortunately, she is not alone. In the U.S., preventable medical errorsare the third leading cause of death. 

Our focus should be on improving patient safety and preventing medical errors, not limiting the rights of injured patients and their families. Lawmakers who seek to limit the accountability of health care providers are seeking to limit our rights and our avenues to justice. 

Don’t our loved ones deserve better?