Case of Negligence - Paper Example

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Wesleyan University
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Based on the three scenarios given to the death of the 46-year-old man in the automobile accident, there are two instances of a potential case of negligence on the part of the medical staff. The three scenarios, death due to overdose, failure by the medical staff to administer blood, and subdural hematoma. The first and the last have instances of negligence, as discussed below:

First Scenario: Deaths Attributable to Overdose

This scenario is a case of negligence, as according to the case, they had observed the patient for several hours, both in the emergency department, as well as in the medical-surgical unit, and did not initiate any instance of communication to know whether the patient had heroin. There are four elements of negligence, the duty of care, breach, causation, and damages (Dey, 2017). In this case, the medical staff had a duty of care to observe the patient, and thus, they should have noted that indeed the patient had symptoms of overdose even without the patient telling them. As such, they breached the duty of care by not properly making a diagnosis that the patient had heroin, which when the medical staff gave morphine resulted in an overdose, and then in death.

Second Scenario: Death due to Failure of Administering Blood

There is no strong case of negligence as the patient refused the transfusion, and thus, medical staff failed to administer blood even though the patient needed it. The patient refused the blood transfusion, and thus, the medical staff had the right to respect the decision of the patient (Chand, Subramanya, & Rao, 2014). Even though it may have resulted in death, it is not the fault of the medical staff.

Third Case: Death due to Subdural Hematoma

It is evident from the case that the patient was put under observation in the medical-surgical unit. For this reason, they should have conducted an MRI or CT scan to establish whether the patient had a subdural hematoma, which should be checked after an automobile accident (Oeur et al., 2015). Besides, they should have conducted further tests instead of observation only. In effect, they could have surgically removed the hematoma since the patient had been placed in the medical-surgical observation. Since it was not removed, the medical staff breached the duty of care, which led to death.



Chand, N. K., Subramanya, H. B., & Rao, G. V. (2014). Management of patients who refuse blood transfusion. Indian journal of anaesthesia, 58(5), 658.

Dey, B. K. (2017). Medical Negligence: An Overview. Bengal Journal of Otolaryngology and Head Neck Surgery, 25(1), 46-54.

Oeur, R. A., Karton, C., Post, A., Rousseau, P., Hoshizaki, T. B., Marshall, S., & Gilchrist, M. D. (2015). A comparison of head dynamic response and brain tissue stress and strain using accident reconstructions for concussion, concussion with persistent postconcussive symptoms, and subdural hematoma. Journal of neurosurgery, 123(2), 415-422.


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