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Lawsuit: hospital negligence caused woman to freeze to death

Florida residents are well aware that hospital mistakes can often leave individuals with a worsened medical condition, new injuries, or, in the worst instances, dead. Though many of these mistakes can be chalked up to medical professionals' failure to diagnose a condition, medication errors and surgical mishaps, sometimes they can be even more extreme and terrifying.

A case in point is a recently filed wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital after an elderly woman was allegedly froze to death after being put in the hospital's morgue freezer while she was still alive. The lawsuit claims the victim went to the hospital after suffering a heart attack was later pronounced dead. She was then placed in a body bag and taken to the morgue.

Yet, when a funeral home worker gained access to the body, the victim was found face-down in the bag with a broken nose and serious injuries to her face. The victim's family hired a pathologist, who determined the injuries were suffered as the victim attempted to free herself from the body bag. Though the family's initial lawsuit was thrown out, this new testimony has driven an appeals court to revive the case.

If the allegations made in this claim are found to be true, it does not bode well for the safety of patients. If doctors fail to detect signs of life, they may have greater difficulty handling more complex medical issues like diagnosing an illness. Fortunately, though, those who are injured by hospital negligence, or the family of one killed by a hospital mistake, may be able to find justice, closure and compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Floridians who proceed with this process must convince a judge or jury that a doctor or hospital's negligence caused his or her injuries. This claim is often supported by medical documents, expert testimony, and accurate application of the law. An attorney can be helpful in presenting a case, giving a victim or his or her surviving family the best chance at recovering the compensation it needs to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and, if necessary, funeral costs.

Source: KABC-TV, "Woman dies in hospital freezer, lawsuit alleges," Rob Hayes, April 3, 2014

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