$1.2 million settlement for death of sleeping hospital patient

Three adult daughters will share a $1.2 million settlement paid as a result of the death of their 60-year-old father following bilateral knee replacements. The surgery was uneventful, and he was medicated for post-operative pain. The man had sleep apnea, and used a CPAP machine while sleeping. He brought the machine with him to the hospital when he was admitted for his surgery, but the doctor failed to order its use, and it sat idle on a shelf above his bed. On the second night after surgery, the man was found unresponsive in bed, and could not be resuscitated. The plaintiff claimed that the pain medications depressed the man’s breathing and heart rate, a dangerous condition in a sleep apnea patient. He should have received continuous oxygen monitoring and had an order written to permit use of his CPAP machine in the hospital.