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Court decides to uphold negligence suit against hospital

New York residents might have heard that on Dec. 12, a Florida court ruled to uphold a suit of negligence against the Holmes Regional Medical Center for failing to remove a recalled drug and prescribing it to a patient. The hospital had appealed the negligence lawsuit, which was filed by the injured patient and his wife, but the request was denied by a panel of three judges from the 5th District Court of Appeals.

According to the original lawsuit, the man went to the medical center for a bypass surgery, and he was given a contaminated dose of the drug heparin. As a result of being given the contaminated blood thinner, the man got a serious bacterial infection, and his right foot and left leg had to be amputated.

The lawsuit alleged that the hospital was alerted of the recall but that it failed to remove the drug from its inventory and return it to the manufacturing company. Although the hospital claimed that this was a case of medical malpractice rather than negligence, the court ruled that the failure to remove the recalled product was no different from neglecting to remove recalled items in other industries. Reports indicate that if the suit had been filed under medical malpractice, the case would have been dismissed because the plaintiffs failed to meet certain legal requirements for such cases.

A hospital that does not promptly remove a recalled drug or product may be held financially responsible for any injuries that any patient suffers as a result. By exposing a patient to such a hazard, a hospital may be endangering a patient's life, and it could thus be considered negligent. In that situation, an injured patient could seek the services of a personal injury lawyer in order to possibly file a lawsuit against the medical facility. A lawyer could review medical records and other evidence to determine if a suit is warranted.

Source: CBS Miami, "Hospital Loses Appeal In Contaminated Drug Case", December 12, 2014

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