This is an awful story where everything in this hosital must have gone wrong - system errors, lack of follow up care, individual negligence or malpractice by doctors and nurses. And a 57 year old patient died as a result.
In fact, the hospital patient was found dead in a hospital stairwell after she had been missing from her hospital room (she was an in-patient) for 17 days. At least one doctor ordered around the clock surveillance because the patient was confused and disoriented, reports the LA Times. But the order wasn't followed.
A nurse later told the sherriff's department that the missing patient was black. She was actually white.
Nighmares like this are rare - but they can and do happen, at good hospitals with otherwise good doctors, nurses and administrators.
How do they happen? Doctors, nurses and hospital personnel don't follow the rules. Most likely, no one checked to make sure the doctor's order for surveillance was carried out, or there was no standing order or protocol to do so, or the doctor never followed up to make sure it was done.
This is also an example of why patients need an advocate with them - to check on the people who are supposed to be checking on them.
To read more about this wrongful death case and the hospital mistakes that led to it, click on the link above.