“Hell at Woodhull,” blasts New York’s Daily News today from the front page of the dead tree edition. Woodhull Hospital is a public city hospital here in New York.
A 10 year old girl had died there of asthma after what appears to be spectacular mismanagement over 4 1/2 hours in the emergency department. A $3.5M jury personal injury verdict was the sad ending.
And so, while tort “reformers” race around trying to make “Pants” Pearson the reason to close the courthouse doors to legitimate claimants, the Daily News is reporting on these nuggets from the trial that recently ended on the asthmatic girl:
- Doctors and nurses put a breathing tube down the girl’s throat without giving her proper sedatives.
- Her hands and feet were tied to her bed.
- After leaving her bucking and screaming for at least an hour, they improperly pulled out and reinserted her endotracheal tube, then pumped so much air into her lungs that they burst.
- Finally, after she became unresponsive, they administered huge overdoses of an adrenaline drug to keep her heart beating.
A state Health Department investigation of the girl’s death in April 1999 also concluded that Woodhull had failed to meet “generally acceptable standards of professional practice” in its treatment of the girl.
According to the Daily News story:
A nurse who was in the room when Anna died testified that while the girl’s body was still on the bed, officials from the hospital’s risk management unit suddenly appeared and began scooping up X-rays and medical charts – several of which were never found afterward.
(Eric Turkewitz is a personal injury attorney in New York)