Nebraska’s Great Plains Regional Medical Center (GPRMC) and five of its doctors are being sued for the wrongful death of a GPRMC patient.
Charles Smythe died on July 23, 2009, and the suit is being filed on his behalf by members of his family. The wrongful death claim was filed in Nebraska’s Lincoln County Civil Court. His death was ruled a result of perfusion failure.
The lawsuit maintains that the 85-year-old Smythe’s death resulted from complications following a colonoscopy he was receiving at the hospital before his death. Further, the suit maintains that Smythe did not require a colonoscopy to evaluate his chief complaints at the time of treatment. The complications required an emergency surgery to correct the damage, and when it became clear Smythe was continuing to deteriorate, doctors made the call to discontinue life support and declined to perform CPR. These latter actions in particular were taken without any proper consultation of the Smythe family, according to Smythe attorneys.
“As a direct and proximate result of the negligence of the Defendants, Charles H. Smythe sustained unnecessary painful physical discomfort, mental agony and disability which resulted in his ultimate death,” a local newspaper reports the lawsuit as saying.
The family of Smythe is seeking general damages, special damages, attorney’s fees and all associated costs. Presumably this amount would include pain and suffering, loss of income, and the costs of hospitalization and the surgery Smythe was undergoing at the time of his death.
Representatives of the hospital were contacted, but declined to comment on the matter.
Colon perforation, which appears to be the underlying cause of the problem here, is an incredibly painful experience, and as demonstrated in the above incident, highly life-threatening. Given that men over 50 are encouraged to receive a routine screening via colonoscopy, the doctors administering one should have been aware of the nature of Smythe’s complaints and not pushed an unnecessary procedure on the gentleman.