Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
Today’s tip is about coroner or about an autopsy.
Now, we are still working with a client who unfortunately lost their loved one last week during surgery. So their loved one had been in intensive care for over 70 days after COVID pneumonia, COVID ARDS, ended up with a tracheostomy and was actually doing pretty well, was slowly weaning off the ventilator, but was having some ongoing chest pain. And after some CT scans, it turned out that one of the arteries, after the tracheostomy had been done, was slowly leaking and the client had to go for an artery repair a few weeks ago, and then that was fixed initially. But then the client or the ICU patient was complaining about ongoing chest pain, had to be treated with opiates, such as hydromorphine, oxycodone and so forth. And was complaining about ongoing chest pain. They did another CT scan and it was showing that the client was still bleeding. And also was on heparin prior to surgery and had to be rushed off surgery to repair the artery.
Unfortunately, the client or the ICU patient was dying on the operating table. During surgery, her heart stopped, she had massive blood transfusions because she was bleeding and she couldn’t be saved. Now, in some jurisdictions around the world, when someone dies on an operating table, they will be automatically referred to the coroner because obviously, it’s quite a significant event and someone needs to investigate that there is probably no foul play, that everything has been done to make sure a client could have been safe and so forth. So we advised our client to contact the coroner because the hospital said that she’s not a coroner’s case, that she has been “cleared”.
Now I am not a lawyer, I am not an attorney. What I do know is this, after having worked in intensive care for over 20 years in three different countries, is that when someone dies on an operating table, it should be referred to the coroner. And if it’s not being referred to the coroner, you can also contact the police, if you want more answers of course. You may think the case is crystal clear, but if you’re seeking for answers, which is the case in this situation, you should definitely call the coroner. If for whatever reason, it’s not a coroner’s case, then you can also look for an autopsy, for a private autopsy and seek answers there for the cause of death and so forth. Because I think it is very important that everybody can clear their name when someone is dying on an operating table and also to not have any questions unanswered, because if you can no longer do an autopsy, you will no longer find answers to the burning questions that you have when someone dies during an operation.
So that is my quick tip for today.
If you have a loved one in intensive care and you need help, go to intensivecarehotline.com and call us on one of the numbers on the top of the website.
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This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com, and i’ll talk to you in a few days.
Take care for now.