This was a wrongful death case arising from medical / nursing malpractice. Barbara Griffin died in the early morning hours of September 25, 2010, only 12 hours after being admitted to Vibra Hospital for long-term acute management, tracheostomy weaning, and rehabilitation. The admission records indicated that the staff was well aware that Ms. Griffin required restraints and high levels of medication in order to maintain her anxiety and agitation, and to keep her from pulling on her tracheostomy tubes. Despite the staff’s knowledge of Ms. Griffin’s condition, and her need for restraints and medication, during the first 12 hours of her admission Ms. Griffin pulled the tube connected to her tracheostomy out a total of five times, with the final time causing her death. Unbelievably, the evidence suggested that the nursing staff continued to increase her supplemental oxygen rather than call for a doctor to address her underlying respiratory distress.
The case was filed in Adams County District Court. We retained a Ph.D. level professor of nursing at UCHSC to testify that the nursing care Ms. Griffin received was below standard. After several months of litigation and depositions of key nursing staff at the hospital, the case was resolved for a confidential amount at a private mediation.