Patient some time ago in my SICU was admitted after what was supposed to be an anterior approach back surgery of some type. Orthopedic surgeons made a horrific technical error (blamed it on a retraction device used, another story and issue altogether) and tore this patients aorta wide open. Patient also had some bowel damage/perforation from the device. Needless to say, patient nearly died intra-op. He came to the ICU after something like 40-50 units of blood products with a nearly 18 inch abdominal wound and a colostomy. This patient was an early 40-something male, narcotic dependent because of the back pain.
Had a prolonged recovery over several months. The hospital admitted to a grievous error and agreed (without attorney involvement, that's how bad it was) to cover 100% of the hospital bill/related costs, and I think a lump sum settlement was awarded as well but I can't verify that for sure -- they don't let that kind of info trickle down to staff very often, but that was the rumor.
Patient and family were horrible. Obviously they were stunned and upset over what happened, but I think even had things not gone that way, they were the wait-on-me-hand-and-foot type. Management went way over what is normally done, giving the patient's wife the direct number to the nursing supervisor after hours, pager numbers for residents, etc. There were multiple complaints against many nurses during their stay for BS reasons. Management pretty much backed up the family.
My question to you -- does this patient/family deserve to be treated differently/better than everyone else? I've still not really formulated an opinion on what should have been done in this scenario (or others like this) and really want to know what you think.