Additional or worsened illness can happen under a variety of circumstances in a medical setting. Dietary errors during a hospital admission, for example, could significantly impact the patient’s health and lead to serious illness and even death in severe cases. Patients may hold negligent hospital staff or medical professionals who commit these errors responsible for any resultant damages.
Types of Dietary Errors at Hospitals
One circumstance in which a hospital may commit an error is when a patient is admitted to the hospital and has a strict diet that hospital staff fails to follow. Let’s say a patient suffers from high blood pressure and his or her physician requires a low-salt diet.
If, despite records indicating the patient should receive a low- or no-salt diet, the staff provides the patient a high-salt meal, the hospital may be negligent in its actions. If this causes a spike in blood pressure, resulting in complications like life-threatening cardiovascular emergencies like heart attack or stroke, the patient may hold the hospital liable for damages.
Further, some patients have allergies to certain foods. They should make their doctors aware of these allergies and they should be noted in the patient’s records. If the patient is provided foods to which he or she is allergic, the hospital could be responsible for any additional injuries and damages like hives or anaphylactic shock that arise as a result.
Another type of dietary error one could encounter at a hospital is when a doctor fails to properly advise the patient of restrictions before undergoing surgery. If the patient is not instructed to follow certain guidelines and/or fast for a certain period of time before surgery, and the hospital staff fails to ensure the patient followed an acceptable diet, the patient may hold the hospital liable for any complications that arise.
Of course, if the hospital itself provides an inappropriate diet prior to surgery, it could be liable as well. Smoking could fall under dietary and lifestyle restrictions that must be advised before a surgery. Smoking immediately prior to a surgery could prolong healing time and increase scarring. This point should be addressed by one’s doctor.
Liability for Damages Stemming from a Dietary Error
To determine liability, injured patients must establish the source of the dietary or medical mistake. It could be a nurse, anesthesiologist, physician, surgeon or any other member of the staff who fails to follow dietary guidelines or otherwise acts in a negligent manner. In some cases, more than one party could be liable, such as if an employee was under someone’s supervision and both failed to catch the error.
Generally, the patient can hold the hospital itself responsible because it oversees and is responsible for those who work there. Whether it’s an outpatient clinic, emergency department or any other setting, when medical processionals make a dietary error that causes illness or injury, the patient can hold them responsible via a malpractice claim.
Seeking Compensation for Injuries or Illness
The additional medical costs arising out of the illness or injury may be recoverable, this includes extended hospitalization, additional surgery or other forms of treatment. If the results are fatal, surviving family may be entitled to wrongful death benefits.
Victims of a dietary error may also be compensated for the additional missed time from work. And in some cases, plaintiffs may even recover damages to address losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability and more.
To discuss an illness or injury caused by a preventable dietary error that a hospital or medical professional committed, contact a lawyer today. At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, we can help sort through the details of the case to determine if a claim is warranted. Call us today at 800-246-4878 to set up your free initial consultation to get started on your claim.