Research by some of the nation’s most respected physicians documents
an alarming increase in medical malpractice lawsuits related to hospital
patients being found “Dead in Bed.”
An exclusive News 5 Investigation revealed the deadly phenomenon where
patients who have undergone successful surgery and who are recovering
in their own rooms on a general floor where risks are judged to be the
absolute lowest – die suddenly and unexpectedly, often within hours.
The use of opioid painkillers – widely used in hospitals nationwide
– suppress the respiratory system to critical levels, depriving
the brain of oxygen and are believed to play a significant role in the
rising number of “Dead in Bed” cases.
Medical experts estimate at many as 50,000 patients have been impacted
over the last ten years–many resulting in death and serious brain injury.
Meanwhile, a review of cases involving respiratory depression found cases
“resulting in death or serious injury
occur at a concerning rate.”
A team of doctors reviewing lawsuits found payouts can reach more than
Another analysis by doctors found “the vast majority” of malpractice
claims are “preventable.”
Our investigation found “Dead in Bed” cases can be reduced
by employing what is known as continuous electronic monitoring of a patient’s
But we found, very few hospitals nationwide employ the technology that
is readily available.
Here in Ohio, Summa’s
Akron City Hospital is facing a medical
malpractice lawsuit alleging it was negligent in a case involving a patient who’s respiration
dropped to critical levels–resulting in brain injury.
Marty Schmidt said he was faced with the painful decision to remove his
wife from life support.
“We just want answers, we don’t want anyone else to go through
this,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt’s Attorney is pursing the case on behalf of the family and
says “there is no question in my mind” that similar lawsuits
are costing hospitals across the country hundreds of millions of dollars
“I think a major problem,” says Schmidt’s, “that
when somebody is found dead in bed, there isn’t some explanation.”
“We can stay away from fault – just an honest to goodness,
objective explanation of what happened, rather than ignoring it.
Summa declined to comment on ongoing litigation but did confirm that it
does not provide continuous electronic monitoring for all surgical patients
– in every room, including the general floor – as a routine practice.
The hospital released a statement saying “all surgical patients are
monitored via multiple techniques, including pulse ox, for the entirety
of their operative and recovery phases. When leaving the surgical area,
patients are monitored based on their individual clinical needs and in
conjunction with national medical guidelines and standards of care”.
And while it has not invested in blanket monitoring of every patient after
surgery on general floors, our investigation found it has invested in
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to provide proper care to
a patient, often resulting in serious injury or even death. If you or
a loved one has been hurt by medical errors and/or medical malpractice,
contact the experienced attorneys at The Lancione Law Firm or call us
This article is brought to you by The Lancione Law Firm.
The article is written by: Ron Regan, as seen on
ABC news 5 Cleveland.