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Law Case: Woodward v. Research Medical Center Essay


A 79-year old woman by the name Ms. Woodward was hospitalized at Research Medical Center for recovery after procedural cardiac catheterization. On the morning of her release from the hospital, she had a fall whereby she sustained a broken hip as the nurse in charge tried to lead her to the restroom. The previous night before the unfortunate fall, Ms. Woodward was placed under the supervision of an unqualified nurse who had been drafted from another unit, and thus she was not conversant with the cardiac patients’ needs. Ms. Woodward was placed on a nitroglycerine drip at 90 ug per minute, but the night nurse changed this rate to 100 ug per minute without following the right procedure.

Even though the nurse conferred with her supervisor, such changes require the direct involvement of a doctor. In addition, the night nurse allowed the patient’s systolic pressure to exceed the set maximum of 150 according to the physician’s directions. In addition, the nurse observed some signs of muddiness in the patient during the night, but she did not inform anyone on the same. In the morning, the incoming nurse was not briefed sufficiently on Ms. Woodward’s condition and the events of the previous night (Woodward v. ­­­­­­­Research Medical Center, 2005).

Therefore, upon arrival to take his wife out of the hospital, Mr. Woodward simply called on the nurse to assist the patient to the washroom. However, the nurse did not follow the set protocols before assisting Ms. Woodward to walk to the restroom. Unfortunately, before they could get to the restroom, Ms. Woodward fell and died of cardiac arrest 3 months later after this incident.

Mr. Woodward disputed a circuit court order, which sought to stop his attempts to institute a new trial because the earlier ruling had ruled that his wife’s death was not due to the hospital’s negligence. In the first submission, Mr. Woodward and his daughter highlighted nine negligence cases on the hospital’s side, which contributed to the death of Ms. Woodward. Mr. Woodward sought an array of damages as the surviving spouse. According to Mr. Woodward, the hospital’s negligence led to the fall, which together with some known pre-existing conditions contributed to the death of Ms. Woodward (Woodward v. ­­­­­­­Research Medical Center, 2005).

On the other side, the Research Medical Center’s defense noted that the patient’s pre-existing conditions caused a cardiac arrest, which led to the fall and the subsequent death, and thus the nursing staff members did not contribute to the fall in any way. Therefore, a jury was tasked with determining whether the patient died due to direct result of the hospital’s negligence as opposed to whether the negligence simply contributed to the death. The jury established that the alleged negligence led to the death, and thus the hospital was liable to wrongful death.

Therefore, the jury awarded damages for the death. However, the Missouri Court of Appeals overturned the jury’s verdict and asked for a new trial. Even though the nurses were negligent, according to the court, associating the cardiac arrest with the fall despite the patient’s pre-existing conditions was bizarre. The point of contention is whether the preexisting conditions caused a heart attack, which led to the fall, or whether the fall caused the cardiac arrest. In addition, even if negligence led to the fall, it is debatable if the fall caused the death directly.

Reference

Woodward v. ­­­­­­­Research Medical Center Ctr., 2005 WL 2007878 (Mo. App. W.D. 2005) 19.

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IvyPanda. (2020, June 23). Law Case: Woodward v. Research Medical Center. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/law-case-woodward-v-research-medical-center/

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"Law Case: Woodward v. Research Medical Center." IvyPanda, 23 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/law-case-woodward-v-research-medical-center/.

1. IvyPanda. "Law Case: Woodward v. Research Medical Center." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/law-case-woodward-v-research-medical-center/.


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IvyPanda. "Law Case: Woodward v. Research Medical Center." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/law-case-woodward-v-research-medical-center/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Law Case: Woodward v. Research Medical Center." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/law-case-woodward-v-research-medical-center/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Law Case: Woodward v. Research Medical Center'. 23 June.

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