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Lawsuit alleges woman's death due to hospital understaffing

A healthy 26-year-old woman should never be subjected to a life-threatening crisis because of a lack of adequate staffing at a medical facility. However, a lawsuit filed recently says that's exactly what happened to a young doctor who suffered irreversible brain damage and died because of a blood clot that was not properly diagnosed.

The woman, who graduated from medical school in May, died at the hospital where she had been accepted to perform her residency beginning a few months later. The woman had been suffering from bad headaches and had been bruising easily when she came to the hospital on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Staff members and doctors gave her pain-relieving medications -- but they failed to consult a neurologist.

On the day after the holiday -- two days after she went to the hospital -- she was finally seen by a neurologist, who ordered a CT scan of her head. At that time, doctors began to suspect a blood clot was the cause of the woman's distress. She had also been using a NuvaRing, a type of contraceptive that can lead to increased risk of blood clots. However, this was not noted until the CT scan was performed.

Further tests were ordered, but the woman's condition got rapidly worse. She was transferred to a different hospital that had a doctor capable of breaking down the blood clot, but the woman's conditioned worsened significantly, and efforts to revive her were abandoned. She died of the blood clot causing her brain to swell inside her skull.

Her parents have filed a lawsuit against one of the hospitals involved as well as that facility's parent companies. While nothing can bring back their daughter, the woman's parents could receive compensation as a result of the loss of their loved one.

Source: The Times Leader, "Malpractice suit filed in young doctor’s death," Jerry Lynott, Jan. 8, 2014

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