Legal news for personal injury attorneys. Hospitals could be held liable for power failure during natural disasters.
Personal injury attorneys alert- A civil lawsuit could make hospitals across the country liable for power outages during natural disasters.
New Orleans, LA—A civil lawsuit filed against Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina could affect hospitals all across the country on how they respond and prepare for emergencies, which range from viral pandemics to natural disasters. When the flood waters rose and the electricity went out is when LaCoste passed away, opening the door for potentially unlimited damages that could be brought against the state, as reported by USA Today.
LaCoste, 73, died 4 ½ years ago, along with 16 other patients, when Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana and created unprecedented damage. Now the family of LaCoste has filed a civil lawsuit, which accuses the hospital of negligence and is asking for $11.7 million in damages. LaCoste was brought to the Methodist Hospital with congestive heart failure the day before Katrina made landfall, and was put on a mechanical respirator. When the hospitals power went out, nurses worked in shifts pumping air by handbags for 15 hours, until she passed away “by the process akin to slow-drowning.”
In 2007, Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the case is not a medical malpractice lawsuit, which has instead released a floodgate of its own of potentially unlimited damages that families can receive. The cap on malpractice lawsuits in the state of Louisiana is $500,000. The LaCoste lawsuit may set new standards which would make hospitals across the nation responsible if they lose their power due to snowstorms, tornadoes, or other natural disasters. In the aftermath of the catastrophic hurricane, dozens of residents died in hospitals and in nursing homes, while overwhelmed rescue teams tried their hardest to evacuate patients. According to the Louisiana Patient’s Compensation Fund Oversight Board, which manages the states malpractice lawsuits, stated there have been 194 Katrina-related claims filed since the storm.
Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for personal injury lawyers.