ANN ARBOR -- A patient at Ann Arbor's Veterans Affairs hospital died last year after a nurse mistakenly led others to believe the patient had a do-not-resuscitate order.
The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs released the report on Tuesday following a federal probe into a case.
Investigators found that the 66-year-old veteran, who had underwent bypass surgery, was the only person on his floor who wasn't on a heart monitor. Patients are supposed to be placed on a heart monitor after open-heart surgery.
The patient was suffering from chest pain and stopped breathing while recovering from artery bypass surgery. No one at the hospital attempted to resuscitate him, and he died the day after Christmas.
The federal report found that the registered nurse working with the patient had confused another patient’s do-not-resuscitate order with the veteran who died. As a result, the nurse reportedly no longer provides direct care, according to investigators.
It was the third time in four years that the Ann Arbor VA nurse was “involved in significant monitoring deficiencies in high-risk patients," according to The Detroit News.
The family of the victim say they appreciate the outpouring of support and want privacy at this time.
The following is the full statement from the family through wrongful death attorney Randall M. Blau, of Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C.:
“On behalf of our family, we would just like to thank everyone for the thoughts and concern expressed over the loss of our loved one. We are hopeful that the results of the recent report from the Inspector General’s Office has brought to light the unacceptable and horrific care that our veterans are currently receiving in the veteran administration system. Although it is too late to save our family from this tragic loss, we can only hope that the investigation findings and pursuit of our claim will result in immediate changes to prevent any additional and unnecessary loss of life.”
The nurse could face discipline up to dismissal related to the 66-year-old's death, Brian Hayes, public affairs officer for the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System told MLive Media Group on Wednesday.
"These are serious allegations, and we are looking immediately into taking appropriate personnel actions against those named in the report," according to a statement released by the Ann Arbor VA. "Secretary (David) Shulkin has made clear that VA will hold employees accountable when they fail to live up to the high standards taxpayers expect from us. And that's exactly what we're doing in this case."
What are the Steps to File a Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The first step is to hired an experienced attorney to determine if there is a basis under Michigan law to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the lawyer determines that there is valid case, the next step is to have a personal representative appointed by the probate court to file the lawsuit on behalf of the estate, which is essentially the other family members and heirs.
The lawsuit is a legal document, called the Complaint, that is filed at the courthouse and sets forth the legal basis for the claims. This includes allegations of negligence that caused the death. The lawsuit also requests the different types of compensation allowed under the Michigan Wrongful Death Statute.
Examples of Our Michigan Wrongful Death Settlements
- $5,080,000: Jury verdict against an Oakland County assisted living facility.
- $3,600,000: Settlement in an assisted living wrongful death lawsuit.
- $3,500,000: Settlement against a Detroit area hospital for the wrongful death of a patient.
- $1,325,000: Waterford fatal pedestrian accident settlement against a corporation.
- $1,000,000: Macomb County wrongful death lawsuit for a bicycle accident.
- $900,000: Lansing area car accident settlement for the death of a son and brother.
- $725,000: Settlement for the death of a child at a Macomb County apartment complex.
- $650,000: Settlement for an apartment complex pool drowning.
- $600,000: Settlement in a death case due to a fall in a transportation van.
Other Settlements for Accident Death Cases in Michigan
- $7,000,000: Wrongful death settlement in an Oakland County fatal auto accident lawsuit.
- $4,500,000: Fatal accident settlement for the family members of a young man run over by a septic truck.
- $4,140,000: Fall settlement for the surviving family of a tentant who died when a guardrail failed and he fell to his death.
- $3,825,000: Pedestrian death settlement. The victim was hit by a truck while lawfully crossing an intersection.
Free Guide for Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When someone dies an unlawful or accidental death due to the fault of another, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
To better understand the secret deadlines that will destroy your case if you delay in hiring a lawyer, download our freehand guide, "The Ultimate Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuit Handbook," by Lawrence J. Buckfire.
Cases related to wrongful death accidents are brought by family members seeking justice for the loss of a loved one. We can help your family after a tragedy involving an accidental or unlawful death.
The book sells for $14.95 on Amazon, but you can download it immediately for free.
Our No-Fee Promise on Michigan Wrongful Death Cases
You can afford to have the best Michigan accidental death attorneys on your side for your wrongful death lawsuit. It costs you nothing to get started and we will even pay to open the probate estate. If your case is unsuccessful, you owe us nothing.
For all cases involving an accidental death or an unlawful death, we promise you in writing:
- No money to get started or to open the probate estate.
- We pay all case costs and expenses from start to finish.
- No legal fees whatsoever unless the case settles.
- Phone calls are always free, forever.
Start Your Michigan Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are three easy ways for us to get started on your wrongful death case. You can:
Chat online with our intake specialist and an accidental death lawyer will call you directly.
Submit the Free Case Review Box on this page. We will contact you shortly.
Call (888) 797-8787 any time of day to tell us about your case.
Warning: There are strict time deadlines for filing Michigan wrongful death lawsuits. Call to learn more about Michigan Wrongful Death lawsuits & settlements.