An Illinois nursing home was recently fined $25,000 for failing to follow
a resident’s advance directive regarding cardiopulmonary resuscitation
(CPR). Tragically, the mistake resulted in the resident’s death.
media reports, the nursing home resident was found unresponsive. While staff members
were attempting to revive her, another staff member mistakenly informed
them that the resident's medical chart included a do-not-resuscitate
(DNR) order. The staff stopped administering CPR, and the patient died.
Unfortunately, medical professionals often misunderstand advance directives
such as living wills and do-not-resuscitate orders, according to a new
San Diego medical malpractice lawyers, we are concerned these medical errors may lead to patient deaths and
A survey by QuantiaMD, an online physician learning collaborative, found
that almost 50 percent of health professionals misunderstood the components
of living wills. The majority of survey respondents incorrectly stated
that patients with DNRs should receive significantly less medical care,
even though a DNR only requires that a patient should not be resuscitated
if found with no pulse. At the same time, about 20 percent said they would
defibrillate a patient who had a clear DNR order.
A similar study published in
The Journal of Emergency Medicine found that 78 percent of physicians misinterpreted living wills as DNRs.
Alarmingly, the figure was slightly higher (80 percent) for emergency
physicians. Unlike DNRs, a living will requires doctors to withdraw or
withhold life-sustaining treatment if the patient is terminally ill or
in a persistent vegetative state.
These studies highlight that, without additional training to understand
advance directives like DNRs and living wills, many medical professionals
will make mistakes. In many cases, the failure to properly interpret or
follow an advance directive can amount to medical malpractice.
If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a medical
mistake, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please contact
a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.