My grandmother was admited to the ICU in March of this year for a respitory problem. Her blood sugar was high so the nurse gave her 12U of regular insulin. She is a non-insulin dependent diabetic and does not take insulin at home. The last time she had insulin in the same hospital (one month prior) her sugar dropped to 17. We made her nurse aware of this. The insulin was given at 12am and the nurse never checked her sugar. At 4am when she found her unresponsive and in respitory distress the nurse called a code, still not checking her blood sugar. She was then intubated and still no one has done a finger stick. When the labs came up over one hour later her sugar was 14. With the lack of oxygen and glucose to her brain for so long, she had severe brain damage and died a week later.
I am so sorry! You certainly should speak with a local attorney immediately. Good luck!
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Ethics / Professional Responsibility Lawyer
This is a terrible story. Unfortunately things like this happen all the time. Whether there is a basis for a lawsuit depends not only on whether there was negligence on the part of the nurse (and it certainly seems that there was) but also on whether there were substantial damages. Under New York law the damages would probably be very modest. For an explanation, you can read my guide on wrongful death which you can find at the end of my Avvo bio. Some states permit recovery for grief and mental anguish of survivors. In that case, the damages may be substantial. I suggest you contact a medical malpractice lawyer in your area. Consultations are almost always free.
Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to Avvo questions are for general information purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice.
I am very sorry to hear of your grandmother's death. You and the other next of kin may be able to pursue both a surviving medical malpractice claim and a wrongful death claim. But, you need to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your area without further delay. The attorney will need to review the preliminary facts with you, and if the case appears to have merit, gather the related medical records to be reviewed by a physician and/or nursing expert to determine if the nurse or other personnel breached the applicable standards of care. There are many fine medical malpractice attorneys in Cleveland. Find one and call him or her today.