Friday, July 08, 2005

And the stupid fucking lawsuit of the day award goes to...

You've got to be kidding me? The hospital was supposed to anticipate that this guy would faint and hit his head and die as the result of them asking him to "assist in the epidural." And of course that assistance they asked him for was to hold his wife steady. Look, this is a terrible tragic accident, but this is not the hospital's fault. If Jeanette Passalaqua really believes that the hospital “owed him a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injuries resulting from his participation, " it might have been nice for her to speak up about it at the time. I mean, I realize she was busy giving birth and all, but her husband's life was at stake. But of course, she didn't think that until her lawyer told her to think it.

Now because of this bullshit, this hospital will adopt some ridiculous policy of not asking unqualified people to "assist" in any procedures, which of course will mean they will need to hire people to "hold and steady" people during epidurals, thus making all our healthcare costs go up. Either that, or they will do this to people without steadying them, and it will no doubt cause some woman some horrible injury as a result, which she will sue over. On the bright side, anytime you're in a hospital, be on the lookout for the staff to ask you to do anything that you are obviously incompetent to handle, then if you screw it up, you may have hit the lottery.

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9 comments:

roger said...

hi, got here from shakes sis---

when my daughter was in the ER for broken vertabrae (yes, plural---way ouch!) i got my usual medical queasy feeling went out in the hall and sat in a chair. a nurse saw me and insisted i go to an examing room, lay down, drink this OJ, and relax. they were wonderful to me and to my daughter, who is fine now. guess i can't get paid for being treated well.

Ol Cranky said...

somehow, I don't think they asked him to assist in performing the epidural (as the suit implies), I think they asked him if he wanted to be involved with it (as part of the Labor and delivery process). This was the couple's sscond child, was he not there for the first child's delivery? If so, and the couple stated as much (something I'd expect would come into conversation during the pregnancy & doctor's visits) and that they wanted the husband involved in the L & D for this child to a similar degree - you see where I'm going here, I'm sure. This is a frivolous suit; he could have fainted and hit his head at any time (as many fathers do, usually either during delivery or when cutting the cord - another thing hospital staff will ask a father if he wants to perform). This is the sort of BS suit that insurance companies make hospitals and physicians settle because the cost of the litigation is cost prohibitive (then they increase the premiums). I point this out b/c you did not call anyone an asshole (the only thing missing in an otherwise stellar post) and that asshole W fights for so called tort reform, but lets insurance companies get away with this shit.

John Howard said...

They didn't ask him to assist inthe procedure, they asked him to hold his wife, which she (and her lawyer, I imagine) describes as assistingin the epidural.

Patrick said...

Ol Cranky, I'm no expert but I believe one of the benefits of the tort reform that you rail against is that the cost of litigation (and possibly losing) would be capped to reasonable amounts so that insurance companies might be compelled to actually fight crud like this. The reason they force settlements is that the possiblity of losing a suit such as this would mean a far more costly settlement. Easier to pay them a million (and raise your rates) than risk losing ten, especially with the liklihood that they can find twelve numbnuts who might actually see 51% causality.

eRobin said...

Hi - I'm here from Shakespeare's Sister's place too :)

I say file the suit and let the jury hear the evidence. I think holding the patient during an epidural is an assist, but I don't know why they didn't have her lay down on her side, which is a way to do the procedure that doesn't require stablization or support.

Epidurals aren't a walk in the park, even though they're treated that way now. I wouldn't want untrained personnel positioning me for my epidural anymore than I'd want someone off the street holding retractors during my C-section. Even if the father did ask to help, and there's no reason to believe he did, they shouldn't have had him near the procedure unless they wanted to assume the risk. Sounds to me like Kaiser may have been either cutting corners or being lazy. Either way, now they have to make the case why that's okay to do. That's not a bad thing.

Now because of this bullshit, this hospital will adopt some ridiculous policy of not asking unqualified people to "assist" in any procedures, which of course will mean they will need to hire people to "hold and steady" people during epidurals, thus making all our healthcare costs go up. Either that, or they will do this to people without steadying them, and it will no doubt cause some woman some horrible injury as a result, which she will sue over.

They won't hire more personnel, they'll just make patients wait until a nurse is free to assist.

Holly said...

When I worked L&D we never ever had family in the room when we did the epidurals. There is just too much risk for the mother if something happens and she moves. You notice that you weren't around when they did my epidural for my c/section, but I was sitting up and being held by a nurse during the procedure.

The optimal way, at least for nurses, to perform the epidural is for the laboring mother to lay on her left side curled into a C position while we have our arms around her coaching her through contractions. Sitting up is purely for the convenience of the anesthesiologist and is more uncomfortable for the mother.

John Howard said...

I don't know much about the procedure, but I don't think asking him to hold his wife poses any risk to him in any case, so I don't know why the hospital should be expected to anticipate that. Now, if something had happened to her, because he didn't hold her correctlyor something, I wouldn't think it was such a ridiculous claim.

Patrick said...

She's lying on her right side, you help her keep her knees bent and legs drawn up as much as possible (considering the big ol' belly). You can watch the needle insertion, but they discourage it (I'm a paramedic and the anesthesiologist who did my wife's epi knew me, but still had to advise against my watching). Sounds like this guy saw the needle/catheter being unsheathed and fell out.

Anonymous said...

We hear Bush say that everything that ails this country can be resolved by personal responsibility. Why not lawsuits, why does everything that happens to someone be anothers fault. And why can it only be solved through legislation. Someone in a position of respect and authority in this country needs to get up on national TV and explain that winning a lawsuit is not winning "free" money. It has to come from somewhere. Then explain how suing over a slip and fall in the grocery store that wasn't the store's fault anyway causes all of us to pay more for groceries or whatever example you want to give.
Whether it be a slightly less than perfect outcome in surgery or what not.

My mother when she was 25 or 26 had surgery on her left knee, after the surgery she developed a staff infection that nearly took her leg from the knee down. She never gave one thoght to suing, she realized that surgery is inherently dangerous, and thanked the doctors for saving her leg. Her leg has never been completely right after the surgery, but she accepts that and moved on with her life. Never having any thing worse than bad pains in the leg during wet weather. She could have sued and won a lot of money.