Medical malpractice suit in H1N1 death settled

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Information from the Centers for Disease Control shows that more than 11,000 people died nationwide from complications associated with H1N1. The outbreak took place between April 2009 and January 2010.

A physician and the OhioHealth system have agreed to a settlement in response to a civil lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who died from influenza complications. The doctor and the organization had been under fire for medical malpractice after the pregnant woman died from H1N1 complications.

The settlement details will not be released, according to the parties involved. It must be approved by the state’s probate court, which means that the woman’s family may have to wait several months for the compensation.

The 20-year-old woman died in September 2009, when the H1N1 virus was sweeping through the nation. Reports from hospital records show that the woman was sent home without appropriate treatment for flu-like symptoms. At that time, everyone with suspected symptoms was receiving the prophylactic treatment Tamiflu. The woman’s symptoms worsened after her initial emergency room visit, so she went to another hospital.

The woman perished just three days after seeking help at the emergency room. The malpractice suit targeted the physician in the ER who failed to prescribe Tamiflu. The woman’s baby daughter was delivered prematurely before she died.

This medical malpractice case likely sought compensation for the woman’s child, who will be forced to go through life without a mother. The child may also face continuing medical problems because of her mother’s physical condition at the time of her birth. Damages from the malpractice suit could be put toward such expenses. Additionally, the woman will be unable to provide for her child because of her early demise, so the malpractice settlement likely contains some provisions for the future financial welfare of the girl.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Settlement reached in mother’s flu death,” John Futty, Oct. 27, 2012