Painter Law Firm files suit for family against North Cypress Medical Center
When an elderly patient fell and hit her head, the nurses did not notify a doctor for days
Painter Law Firm filed a lawsuit in Houston, Texas against North Cypress Medical Center, on behalf of the family of Mildred Clark.
In February 2010, 93 year old Mildred Clark went from her home to the emergency room of North Cypress Medical Center because she had experienced stomach bug symptoms for a few days and could not keep down food or water.
On the first night of her admission to the hospital, Mrs. Clark needed to go to the restroom and a family member buzzed for the nurse. After an extended wait, the family member helped her to the bathroom, but while Mrs. Clark was in the bathroom, she fell and hit her head on the sink.
The family member immediately told a nurse and showed her exactly how and where it happened. In fact, over the next few days, family members told several nurses the details of the fall. Even armed with this crucial information, though, the nurses chose not to write in the medical records until the next day. And the nurses chose not to tell a doctor about the fall until two days later, and only then when Mrs. Clark started acting confused and showed a change in mental status.
As soon as the doctor learned what had happened, he ordered and CT scan, but it was too late to save her life. The CT scan showed a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain) that was so significant that it was moving the brain hemispheres (mass effect).
After a brief stay in the intensive care unit, Mrs. Clark was sent home on hospice care, where she died a few weeks later.
This case shows why it is so important for a doctor to be notified immediately when a patient falls and hits his or her head. Head trauma can cause bleeding and swelling, which can have devastating and deadly consequences because of the limited room in the skull.
Mrs. Clark’s relative did his part by repeatedly telling the nurses about Mrs. Clark’s fall. If the nurses had fulfilled their responsibility and informed the doctor, he could have saved her life and prevented the pain and agony that she experienced in the days and weeks leading to her death.
Ultimate Cy-Fair newspaper coverage
Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.
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Published in the July/August 2018 edition of "The Houston Lawyer" magazine