According to nationally designated criteria for medical accidents, a “never event” is something that is never supposed to happen in a hospital, whether in Passaic County or anywhere in the United States. A never event is essentially a preventable error that leads to a patient’s death or other serious injury. By its very nature, a never event would appear to constitute medical malpractice. In 2009, just such an incident claimed the life of an Iraq war veteran.
During the week of Nov. 28, it was announced that a county court had authorized a settlement of $4 million for the man’s family’s medical malpractice lawsuit. Having grown up dreaming of being a fighter pilot like his grandfather in World War II, the man was deployed to Iraq as a Navy SEAL in April 2006. Described as a courageous warrior, he survived more than 20 firefights before a sniper’s fire caused shrapnel to tear out his right eye and seriously injure part of his face. But the man fought the ensuing adversity, declaring that he would be the best sightless man he could be.
A number of reconstructive surgeries followed, and he also married his longtime girlfriend, happily spreading the news when she became pregnant. But then tragedy struck when he was admitted to a county hospital for more surgeries. While at the hospital, he was administered a combination of drugs believed to be fatal. He was found the following day unexpectedly deceased in his hospital room.
While details of the medical malpractice were kept private, the hospital acknowledged that the death was occasioned by “hospital-acquired injuries.” It would seem unjust that a man who survived so much should succumb unexpectedly to a medical professional’s tragic mistake. The case underscores the necessity to constantly be on the lookout for medical negligence. Individuals and families in New Jersey would do well to fully investigate any circumstance in which medical malpractice is suspected, and to move with haste to ensure that vital evidence is preserved while the facts are assessed to determine liability.
Source: azcentral.com, “Navy SEAL Ryan Job: A portrait of determination, tragedy,” Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Dec. 3, 2011