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Medical malpractice suit for doctor's premature death declaration

Imagine seeking medical treatment for an ailing loved one from a Tennessee health care provider and being told the person is already dead, despite obvious signs of life. Worse still, imagine finding out later that this delay in treatment is what ultimately cost the patient his or her life. As far-fetched and nightmarish as this scenario may sound, it is exactly what a medical malpractice lawsuit in another state alleges.

According to reports, the now-deceased patient in question was brought in by EMS after collapsing at a supermarket. Approximately 20 minutes after his arrival at the hospital, a doctor pronounced him dead and instructed that he be unhooked from all life support machines and medical sensors. However, when the family was allowed into the room to see their supposedly deceased family member, he showed signs of respiration, a type of gasping known as agonal breathing.

When the man's family begged the doctor -- at least five times, according to reports -- to recheck him, he allegedly not only ignored them but became irritated. The doctor apparently claimed the patient's chest continued to move only because it was expelling air and refused to even check for a pulse. This, despite even the coroner's urging, per court testimony. Finally, the patient's wife forced the doctor to acknowledge the throbbing vein in the man's neck, at which point the doctor relented, realizing the man was still alive and in desperate need of medical attention.

By then, however, it was too late; the patient died several hours later after being transferred. The lawsuit alleges that this negligent delay in care directly resulted in the patient's death. Had he been given medical treatment, the complaint claims, it's likely his life could have been saved. Anyone in Tennessee who has suffered serious injuries or similarly lost a loved one due to a local doctor's serious negligence or error may wish to explore available options for just compensation with a medical malpractice attorney.

Source: sfgate.com, "'Dead people don't move': Buffalo doctor pronounced a living man dead, says family", Kyle Swenson, Jan. 31, 2018

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