A Los Angeles County Medical Center was recently sued for wrongful death by the daughter of a patient who died after surgery.
The case involved a patient named Hung Sun Tam, who was in a car accident in which he injured his stomach and shoulder. Mr. Tam was rushed to Garfield Medical Center where he was diagnosed with peritonitis, hypotension and stomach fluid.
Although Mr. Tam was alert, stable and able to communicate with his daughter before surgery, things quickly deteriorated thereafter. Mr. Tam was allegedly given a dose of morphine, and his blood pressure subsequently plummeted before he experienced cardiac arrest.
The lawsuit filed by Mr. Tam’s daughter alleges that Mr. Tam lost consciousness, slipped into a coma and died the same day he was admitted. The daughter claimed that Mr. Tam’s doctors were negligent in deciding to administer the morphine, but the hospital presented evidence that Mr. Tam died of his car accident injuries and not of a reaction to a morphine.
Mr. Tam’s daughter failed to come up with medical witnesses who could refute the hospital’s experts, so her claim was ultimately dismissed.