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Deceased patient's estate sues W.Va. doctor for wrongful death

Anytime a person is sick, they trust that medical professionals will properly treat them. Doctors, nurses and all other medical staff are highly trained to do all that they can to care for their patients appropriately. Sometimes, however, these people fail to properly care for their patients. All too often, this results in serious consequences for the patient, including death in some cases.

Recently, the estate of a deceased West Virginia man filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who saw him at the hospital just three days prior to the man's death. The man went to the hospital's emergency room because he was experiencing a variety of abdominal problems. Roughly three days later, hospital staff found the man dead. An autopsy revealed that the man was suffering from colon problems that resulted in fecal matter spilling into his abdomen.

The lawsuit alleges that the doctor should have recognized the man's condition, based on chest x-rays and a CT scan. It further states that the doctor should have ordered surgery that would have saved the man's life. The lawsuit seeks an undisclosed amount of damages.

In cases like this one where the patient dies, the law allows the executor of the deceased person's estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate. Potential compensation for these lawsuits might include medical expenses, pain and suffering and the loss of future earnings.

Doctors cannot save every patient's life. But, West Virginia law requires that they care for their patients in a manner that is in line with the standards of other doctors in the area. Loved ones of people who have died at the hands of another person should understand their legal options.

Source: The West Virginia Record, "Logan Co. doctor sued over man's death," Joel Brakken, Dec. 11, 2013

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