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Woman narrowly misses having organs harvested by doctors

Many people in Pennsylvania and throughout the rest of the country have chosen to have their organs donated if they are injured or become ill and the organs can help to save another life. Once a person is pronounced dead in a hospital, health care professionals work quickly to prepare the person for the harvesting of organs, the process during which organs are removed and preserved to be used by a person in need. Potential organ donors may be surprised to find out that many hospitals do not have a checklist in place for determining if the person is actually dead.

Although the woman declined to sue the hospital for medical malpractice and her mother does not feel the incident contributed to her ultimate suicide, a New York resident narrowly missed having her organs harvested as she recovered from a drug overdose.  

The woman was admitted to the ER in 2009, and a nurse informed doctors that she was still alive. Although many tests showed signs of life, doctors asked the nurse to give the woman a strong sedative and prepare her to have her organs removed. The hospital was fined $22,000 after the woman woke up just before doctors began to remove her organs. The hospital performed an internal investigation only after being ordered by the Department of Health.

According to statistics, preventable medical errors rank sixth in the leading causes of death for Americans. Even when honest mistakes are made, people who are forced to endure pain and suffering because of a medical mistake may benefit from consulting an attorney to determine if they may receive money from the hospital for the error.

Source: Yahoo!, “Patient awoke to doctors mistakenly preparing to remove her organs,” Eric Pfeiffer, July 9, 2013

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