Boston Wrongful Death Lawsuit Is Filed After 86-Year-Old Dorchester Woman Sustains Fatal Head Injury In Operating Room Table Fall

The family of Catherine O’Donnell, the 86-year-old woman who died after falling from an operating room table at Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctor, two nurses, an orthopedic resident, and an anesthesiology resident-all who were in the operating room at the time.

O’Donnell was undergoing orthopedic surgery on October 6 when she fell through a gap in the surgical table she was on. A nurse had removed the safety strap around O’Donnell to move her to a hospital bed when the fall accident occurred.

O’Donnell sustained a massive head injury. A second surgery had to be performed to try and stop the internal bleeding in her brain. Her family removed her from life support on October 13 after doctors told them that recovery was unlikely.

The Dorchester grandmother had orthopedic surgery to repair her left hip, which she broke during a fall in her bedroom. Her son says that they never considered the possibility that she would not regain consciousness after the surgery. The actual surgery itself was uneventful.

According to the Health Department’s Bureau of Heath Care Safety and Quality, of the 800 medical mistakes and serious injuries that occur to patients at 90 hospitals in Massachusetts every year, 400-500 cases involve falls.

Boston Medical Center’s own internal investigation of O’Donnell’s fall accident found that everyone in the operating room was busy attending to his or her own responsibilities; not all of them were aware that the safety belt around O’Donnell had been removed.

A new protocol has been established at the hospital following O’Donnell’s fatal accident. Doctors and nurses in the operating room must now stand on both sides of the patient and hold on to him or her before removing the safety strap.

If you believe that someone you love died because medical providers were careless or negligent, you should speak with a Boston, Massachusetts medical malpractice law firm immediately. You may be able to obtain financial compensation for your Boston wrongful death case.

Family sues in operating room fall,, January 29, 2008

Related Web Resource:

The Emotional Toll of Medical Mistakes, New York Times, October 26, 2007

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