A new documentary tells a tragic personal story that is becoming a way of life for American medical consumers. The problem? Medical error.
“Death from medical care.” It is not a phrase you will find on a death certificate, but it may apply to more than 251,454 deaths per year, according to 2016 statistics. Researchers say medical error is now the third-leading cause of death in this country.
A Man Took Wisconsin Healthcare System to Court Over Medical Errors
A California man took the Wisconsin healthcare system to court after his own mother suffered serious medical errors during what should have been routine hip-replacement surgery. He made a documentary about it.
The HBO documentary “Bleed Out,” chronicles the story of one family as it is forced to react to a chain of events following a fall from a bike. An active and retired schoolteacher, 69-year old Judie Burrows was taken to the hospital for hip surgery after a mishap on her bicycle. Despite the surgery, Ms. Burrows fell again, and had to undergo a second hip surgery.
After the six-hour second surgery, Ms. Burrows suffered excessive bleeding. The surgeon who performed the procedure noted the difficulty of the operation and requested she be monitored by a physician that evening. In the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) the night after her surgery, Ms. Burrows was left unattended, losing approximately half of her blood supply, and causing her blood pressure to fall to dangerous levels.
Loss of blood and oxygen to the brain causes brain injury, as it did in the case of Ms. Burrows. Suffering a brain injury, Ms. Burrows is no longer active, and cannot live independently. Her family and son, Steve Burrows, sought answers through the ten-year video diary that became the HBO documentary.
A Personal Struggle That is All Too Common
The personal struggle of the Burrows family echoes a narrative that plays out over and over again throughout the US. Despite the known and growing problem of medical error as a cause of death, coroners who provide information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not have “medical error” as a choice when reporting mortality figures to the agency.
For many families and loved ones seeking truth and compensation for injury caused to family members, the only recourse is a medical malpractice lawsuit. For the Burrows, the first attorney they retained later stopped handling medical negligence cases due to the difficulty of challenging physicians and their backing medical institutions.
After years leading to the courtroom, a six day trial, and jury deliberation of one hour and 12 minutes, a jury concluded that there was no negligence in the Burrows case. Underscoring the need for thorough documentation and investigation, Steve Burrows believes that jurors without medical training could not understand the negligent ICU process that failed his mother.
While Steve Burrows continues to advocate for healthcare transparency, he also emphasizes the need for strong patient advocacy for family members at the outset, and throughout their medical journey.
Unsurpassed Legal Representation to Maryland Patients Injured by Medical Malpractice
If your family member suffers a medical error, speak with an experienced Baltimore medical error lawyers with the resources and experience to successfully challenge healthcare providers and hospitals about the standard of care provided to your loved one.
Schochor, Staton, Goldberg, and Cardea, P.A. has more than 30 years of successful experience representing clients and their families injured through medical negligence. When you suffer serious injury due to the fault of others in Baltimore, Washington, DC, or elsewhere in the US, we can help. Contact us or call 410-234-1000 to schedule a free consultation today.