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Coney Island Hospital Death Investigated

Federal investigators have recently been looking into the death of an 84-year-old woman. The woman was a patient of Coney Island Hospital and was killed because of a wrong blood type transfusion. The investigators who are examining the case are from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As is protocol, these investigators must make a series of follow-up reviews after receiving a report of a transfusion error.

Due to the serious nature of this medical mistake, the New York State Department of Health is also conducting an investigation into Coney Island Hospital. Kings County Hospital is also stepping in to run tests on all the blood that is set aside for transfusions. The hospital will be double-checking that all the samples are marked correctly to avoid future error. Blood transfusion errors can be deadly, because the wrong blood type can essentially attack a person's red blood supply and result in kidney failure.

The United States, many believe, is in dire need of healthcare reform. Far too many avoidable medical errors occur every year, injuring and killing many patients. In fact, statistics show that at least 100,000 individuals die annually because of medical malpractice. Many others sustain permanently debilitating injuries. In actuality, the number is likely much higher than this because many malpractice events are not reported as mistakes.

The case cited above would compromise causes of action for wrongful death and medical malpractice. The liability portion of the case seems relatively easy to prove as the administration of the wrong blood type is not a procedure which the patient can contribute to and as such would be 100% medical error. However, the damages award or monetary value of the case would be somewhat negligible.

Unfortunately, the wrongful death statues in New York State are antiquated and it is simply a formula which takes into account lost earnings, if the decedent has children under 18 and pain and suffering prior to death. As the patient in the reported case was 84 years old, it is unlikely she was working or had minor children. As such, the case would have limited value.


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