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Neil Armstrong Walked On The Moon, But Not Out Of The Operating Room

Recently, the 50th Anniversary of the first moon landing occurred on July 20, 1969.  Stepping out on July 21st, Neil Armstrong stated “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Unfortunately, on August, 7, 2012, Neil Armstrong was unable to step out of the operating room due to what was alleged to be malpractice.  As a result, an Ohio hospital agreed to pay $6 million to Neil Armstrong’s surviving family members to settle allegations that medical malpractice after an emergency heart surgery caused the astronaut’s death, a report said.

The New York Times first reported about the confidential settlement after the paper received an anonymous 93-page document related to Armstrong’s treatment and the legal case.  The newspaper was able to confirm the documents were authentic using public records in Hamilton County Probate Court in Ohio.

Armstrong, the astronaut known for taking the first steps on the moon in 1969, died at the age of 82 on Aug. 25, 2012—two weeks after undergoing cardiac bypass surgery at Cincinnati’s Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital.  At the time of his death, the family announced publicly that Armstrong had died from “complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.”

Privately, Armstrong’s two sons, Mark and Rick Armstrong, accused the hospital of flawed post-surgical treatment that ultimately killed their father, launching a two-year-long legal battle between the family and the medical institution.

Armstrong underwent cardiac bypass surgery on Aug. 7, 2012. As a standard part of the procedure, doctors implanted temporary wires to help pace his heartbeat as he recovers, it is reported. “But when a nurse removed those wires, Mr. Armstrong began to bleed internally and his blood pressure dropped.”

Doctors took Armstrong to a catheterization lab to drain blood from around his heart instead of immediately bringing him into the operating room, a decision ruled by medical professionals hired by both the Armstrong family and the hospital to investigate the death concluded ultimately killed him.

“No institution wants to be remotely associated with the death of one of America’s greatest heroes,” lawyer Bertha G. Helmich, who represented Armstrong’s grandchildren in the suit, wrote the hospital, according to documents obtained by the Times.

Mercy Health denied the malpractice claim but agreed to pay the Armstrong estate $6 million “to avoid the publicity of litigation,” according to a motion filed by Wendy Armstrong.

Mark and Eric Armstrong were granted $5.2 million from the settlement, the Times reported. Armstrong’s brother and sister, Dean A. Armstrong and June L. Hoffman, each received $250,000. Six grandchildren received $24,000 each. Armstrong’s widow and second wife, Carol, was not involved in the settlement.

News of the settlement broke this last week, nearly 7 years after his death, due to the confidentiality provisions commonly found in settlements.  These confidentiality provisions do prevent the number of medical malpractice settlements from being known, but it is know that medical errors is the third leading cause of death in the United States.  Medical Errors only trail heart disease and cancer in terms of causing death – not to mention injuries caused, which are far and above more common in medical malpractice cases.

A recent Johns Hopkins study claims more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical errors. Other reports claim the numbers to be as high as 440,000.  Further, serious harm seems to be 10- to 20-fold more common than lethal harm.  That would put preventable error serious injury to a patient would be to the tune of nearly 4,000,000 to 8,000,000 cases per year.
Medical Malpractice is a medical error that causes a death or an injury be it caused by inadequately skilled staff, error in judgment or care, a system defect or a preventable adverse effect. This includes computer breakdowns, mix-ups with the doses or types of medications administered to patients and surgical complications that go undiagnosed.
Protect yourself:

Ask questions. Gain as much insight as you can from your health-care provider. Ask about the benefits, side effects and disadvantages of a recommended medication or procedure. Use social media to learn more about the patient’s own condition, as well as those medications and procedures for which they were prescribed.

Seek a second opinion. If the situation warrants or if uncertainties exist, get a second opinion from another doctor: A good doctor will welcome confirmation of his diagnosis and resist any efforts to discourage the patient from learning more.

“Too often,” he said, “the health-care system silences people around a problem.” Why? Many doctors are reluctant to speculate, but some admit the answers range from simple ego to losing a patient to another doctor they trust more.

Bring along an advocate. Sometimes it’s hard to process all the information by yourself. Bring a family member or a friend to your appointment — someone who can understand the information and suggestions given and ask questions.

If you do find yourself in a bad situation, much like Neil Armstrong’s family did, please reach out and get help quickly. There are deadlines to contend with and evidence to preserve.  Reach out to us at Goldfinch Winslow to discuss the situation and for us to answer the questions you may have.

Source: FoxNews.com »

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