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"Egregious" medical malpractice error cited in patient's death

A trip to a hospital emergency room is already fraught with fears. One of the last things on a patient's mind may be concerns over whether the staff will fail to provide proper care. Unfortunately, if a medical center fails to follow proper procedures, any Arizona patient could become a victim of medical malpractice.

Sadly, at least one patient died when staff at one formerly well-respected medical center committed an "egregious" medical error. According to an in-depth investigation, it was determined that a woman died after receiving a blood transfusion with a type that was incompatible with her own. The deadly mistake occurred when a blood sample from a prior patient was re-labeled and sent to the hospital lab for testing and typing. Staff failed to question the re-labeling and sent up blood to be used for the transfusion.

In addition to this fatal mistake, nursing staff purportedly failed to adequately monitor the patient's vital signs during the transfusion, which would have indicated that the patient was in distress. The 75-year-old woman died after experiencing repeated cardiac arrests. The investigation into the fatality revealed that staff did not have a policy in place for double-checking mislabeled vials. Shortly before this deadly mistake, another patient's blood sample had been mislabeled. Though staff did catch that mistake, over a four-month period, approximately 122 blood-labeling errors were committed.

This particular hospital has been plagued with problems, including having its heart transplant unit lose Medicare funding due to poor patient outcomes. While hospital officials initially denied any serious problems, it later fired several executives and its CEO in an effort to improve care. Patients deserve the highest quality care possible. If an Arizona patient has suffered greater harm due to the negligence of providers, he or she may be entitled to file a medical malpractice claim in an effort to recover the resulting monetary damages.

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