Articles Posted in Emergency Medical Services

Robert Dardenne experienced chest pain. With that symptom he went to a nearby hospital emergency department where the cardiologist on his case, Dr. Vibhuti Singh, ordered testing and observation at the hospital. After two days, Dr. Singh discharged Dardenne, telling him that his symptoms were not cardiac in nature.

Several months later, Dardenne, then 66 years old, suffered a fatal myocardial infarction. He was survived by his wife and one adult child.

His family and estate sued the hospital, claiming that Dr. Singh was negligent in choosing not to provide the appropriate follow-up medical care. The lawsuit also claimed that the testing was ambiguous and thus Dr. Singh should have performed a cardiac catheterization to determine whether Dardenne had a blockage in his arteries.
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Virginia Schneider, 18, went to Griffin Hospital to be treated for a severe asthma attack. In the process of evaluating her condition, emergency physicians Dr. Gregory Boris and Dr. Alyssa French learned of her left leg pain and numbness. The doctors ordered an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot. When the ultrasound revealed an abnormality in the popliteal artery, the doctors consulted the on-call vascular surgeon, Dr. Marsel Huribal.

Dr. Huribal instructed the emergency room physicians to order a CT scan, which was read offsite by a radiologist, Dr. Jennifer Bryant. Although the full text of Dr. Bryant’s report was never transmitted to the hospital, Dr. French learned and later informed Dr. Huribal that there was a portion of the artery in Schneider’s leg that appeared to be blocked. Nevertheless, Dr. Huribal concluded that she did not have a blood clot.

The next day, radiologist Dr. Gregory Bell reviewed the CT scan and contacted Dr. Huribal who reiterated that he did not believe that Schneider had a blood clot. Over the following weekend, her condition deteriorated rapidly. At an appointment several days later, her foot was found to lack pulses, and she was rushed to the hospital. Despite multiple procedures to restore circulation in the leg, it was concluded that her leg had to be amputated.
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Ana Pereira, 29, was admitted to Monmouth Medical Center where she was diagnosed as having a kidney stone and renal colic. Her condition continued to deteriorate. Blood cultures were positive for bacterial growth by noon of the next day. Pereira underwent a successful procedure to drain her kidney after one failed attempt. However, she developed sepsis.

As a result of the sepsis, Pereira fell into a coma for 5 days and suffered a loss of peripheral circulation. Because of the lack of circulation, bilateral leg amputations and the removal of her left hand at the wrist were necessary.

Pereira sued four physicians who treated her at the medical center alleging negligent treatment of the kidney stone. She also alleged that an on-call urologist chose not to timely report to the hospital when the facility notified his employer of her condition. Pereira claimed that the employer of the urologist had contracted to handle emergency calls from the hospital despite the one-hour driving distance between the practice and the hospital, which precluded a medically acceptable response time.
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In this Cook County, Ill., medical malpractice and wrongful death case, the hospital, Sisters of Saint Francis Health Services Inc. and Dr. Perry Marshall D.O. have appealed the jury’s verdict in favor of the family of the decedent, Georgia Tagalos.

On July 9, 2006, the plaintiff, Ted Fragogiannis accompanied by his mother, Georgia Tagalos, went to visit a friend in Bourbonnais, Ill. She was a long-time sufferer of asthma. During the ride home, Fragogiannis noticed that his mother began wheezing and gasping for air. She used two different inhalers, but her condition did not improve. She went into respiratory distress. Fragogiannis called 911 and arranged for an ambulance to meet them on the highway and take his mother to the hospital. According to the paramedics’ protocol, Tagalos was taken to St. Francis Hospital, which was the nearest hospital.

Tagalos arrived at the hospital at 1:45 p.m. and at that point she could no longer speak, but she was still responsive. Dr. Marshall was the emergency room’s attending physician. He was summoned by the nurse to address what had become a respiratory emergency. Dr. Marshall was at Tagalos’s bedside within minutes, but the parties disagreed about how many minutes elapsed. Dr. Marshall instructed a fourth year emergency room resident physician to see Ms. Tagalos and indicated that she might need to be intubated. The fourth year emergency resident, Dr. Julie Mills, assessed the patient and determined that an emergency intubation was required. At 1:56 p.m., 11 minutes after arriving at the hospital and while Dr. Mills was preparing for intubation, Tagalos became unresponsive.

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The Illinois Appellate Court ruled that the emergency-room resident physician, Dr. Nicholas Strane, was immune from suit under the Illinois Emergency Medical Services System Act.

This case arises out of transporting an 11-year-old boy, Donail Weems, who had a severe asthma attack and was taken to Provident Hospital, which is managed by Cook County. One of the physicians who rode along in the ambulance was Dr. Strane, a University of Chicago Medical Center physician. The University of Chicago Medical Center asked the Illinois Appellate court, First District Court to address whether one of its doctors was immune under the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act.

The trial was held in July 2013; the presiding judge denied the hospital’s motion for summary judgment, which asserted civil immunity, but the judge certified the question for appellate review.

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A Minnesota Appellate Court has held that expert testimony was required to prove a plaintiff’s claim that the paramedic’s negligent transfer was the cause of a patient’s ankle injury and later resulted in a leg amputation.

Mary C. suffered from various health problems and was a left-leg amputee. After she developed respiratory problems, Mary called an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, she was being moved from her wheelchair to a stretcher. While she was being moved, she suffered a fractured right ankle. This fracture led to unsuccessful ankle surgeries followed by infection and ultimately the amputation of her right leg.

Mary C. sued the ambulance service, alleging its paramedics were negligent in transferring her to the stretcher and caused her fall and ankle fracture, which ultimately led to the amputation of her right leg. The defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that Mary had failed to serve the required affidavit of expert identification within the statutory time frame. The court granted defendant’s (the ambulance service) motion to dismiss.

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On Jan. 8, 2008, Nicole Yerkovich, who was 35 at the time, was taken by ambulance to the emergency department at LaGrange Memorial Hospital because of severe abdominal pain and nausea. The ER doctor at the hospital ordered a contrast CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis to see if she was suffering from an appendicitis attack. The CT scan was initially read by a teleradiologist who reported she could not visualize the appendix and therefore could not rule out appendicitis. The teleradiologist recommended the hospital’s doctors obtain the delayed images to get better visualizations of the appendix and noted a moderate amount of free fluid in the pelvis, which could have been due to a ruptured cyst.

The following morning, the in-house radiologist, Dr. Vladislav Gorengaut, reviewed the same CT scan and reported there were no definite findings to suggest appendicitis. He noted there were ascites, which may be caused by peritonitis, and there could be a gynecological issue such as a ruptured hemorrhagic ovarian cyst. Ascites refer to the accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity in the abdominal area.

Based upon the first report of Dr. Gorengaut, the emergency department doctor canceled the delayed CT scan and instead admitted Yerkovich to gynecology and ordered a pelvic ultrasound. Dr. Gorengaut read the ultrasound and reported there was echogenic fluid most likely representing blood from a ruptured ovarian cyst.

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Anthony Bausal was transported by ambulance to the emergency department at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Ill., on Sept. 20, 2008. Bausal had a cellulitis infection in his left leg, increased pain and shortness of breath. He also had underlying conditions of lupus nephritis, cardiomyopathy and chronic anemia.

Bausal, 34, was admitted into the hospital, where additional testing showed that he had a dangerously low cardiac ejection fraction of 20-25% (55% is considered normal), which is the measure of how the well or poorly the heart is pumping out blood through the body. He also had acute anemia and a gastric ulcer with erosive gastritis of the stomach.

One of the defendants, a general surgeon, Dr. Darryl Fernandes, was consulted on Sept. 25, 2008 because of concern about an infectious process in Bausal’s left leg.

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At issue in this South Carolina Supreme Court case was whether the medical malpractice statute of repose applied to indemnify the claim of Columbia/CSA-HS Greater Columbia Healthcare System — also known as Providence Hospital. The trial court in the Court of Appeals in South Carolina held that it does and thus barred the indemnity action brought by Providence Hospital. Because the statute of repose barred the indemnify action brought by the Providence Hospital, the Supreme Court of South Carolina affirmed the lower court’s and the appellate court’s decision.

In 1997, Dr. Michael Hayes and Dr. Michael Taillon were working as emergency room physicians at Providence Hospital as independent contractors. Arthur Sharpe came to Providence Hospital in the emergency room on the same date. He was complaining of chest pain. Drs. Hayes and Taillon evaluated Sharpe and diagnosed him as suffering from gastric reflux. Sharpe was then discharged from the hospital; in fact, he had actually suffered a heart attack. That heart attack was determined a few days later when he went to seek other medical care.

Because of the misdiagnosis, on May 25, 1999, Sharpe and his wife filed a medical malpractice and loss of consortium suit against Providence Hospital and Dr. Hayes. The Sharpes did not name Dr. Taillon as a defendant. Providence Hospital settled with the Sharpes on June 10, 2004.

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Mary Mitchell underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy, but the doctor chose not to employ the appropriate prophylactic measures to prevent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism that was alleged to have caused or contributed to her untimely and unfortunate death.. The doctor who did the surgery, Dr. Amalendu Majumdar was an obstetrician-gynecologist. When this patient flashed signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism during the post-op visit that he made on Nov. 20, 2004, he did not recognize and/or treat the signs and symptoms of this emergency.

As a result of Dr. Majumdar’s failings, Mitchell, who was only 43 years old, died the next day from extensive bilateral pulmonary emboli. She is survived by her husband and two children, ages 14 and 24.

The defendant doctor contended that he complied with the medical standard of care, that he did provide proper intra-operative and post-operative prophylaxis and that the patient did not exhibit “classic’ signs of a pulmonary embolism at the post-op visit on Nov. 20.

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