Malpractice Lawsuit Ends with Safety Improvements by Hospital

A tragic death in Albany, New York proves the power of the civil justice system to spur safety improvements to prevent injury to other patients.

In settling out of court a lawsuit for the death of 32-year-old Diane McCabe, who bled to death after a Cesarean section delivery, the Albany Medical Center agreed to fund for the next 20 years a Diane McCabe Memorial Quality Lecture series focusing on enhancing patient safety. The settlement also requires the hospital to buy a maternal and neonatal simulator to be used in staff training on the labor and delivery unit and to change procedures on the use of a machine that monitors a patient’s vital signs during childbirth.

The attorney for Ms. McCabe’s family, John Powers, said:

“It was never about the money with the family. It came down to the non-monetary aspects involved with the settlement. They wanted to do something to make certain this doesn’t happen to someone else and to create a memorial to Diane for the children as they grow up that they’ll know that their mother is being remembered in this way.”

Read more in the Albany Times Union here.

Unfortunately the medical industry continues to push for “reforms” that would curb the right of patients and their families to seek legal redress for tragic incidents of malpractice. The industry actually argues that hospitals would work harder to improve patient safety if they were freed from the risk of lawsuits when they fail to live up to their promises. Joanne Doroshow, the author of the Pop Tort blog, has a one word response to this notion: “Pul-leze!” Read more from her column here.

Deaths of mothers in childbirth are fortunately rare. But injuries to the newborn baby are not so uncommon. My law firm’s website has more about birth injuries here and here.

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