Articles Posted in Emergency Room Errors

Dawn Arrigoni, 35, went to the emergency room at Woodwinds Hospital complaining of vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. The nurses there attempted to place a peripheral IV but had trouble placing it.

A nurse practitioner then placed an intraosseous (IO) line. An intraosseous infusion line is used in the process of injecting directly into the marrow of the bone to provide a non-collapsible entry point into the systemic venous system of a patient. This method is often used to provide fluids and medication when an IV is not practicable as in this case. The IO line is considered an efficient method to provide intravenous fluids or medication.

Shortly after the IO line was put in place, Arrigoni complained of significant pain for which she was given the pain reliever Dilaudid. Over an hour and a half later, a nurse noted swelling in her lower left leg, which appeared to be pale in color. She continued to complain to the hospital staff of leg pain.
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Aaron Riedel, who was 28 at the time, went to Lodi Community Hospital emergency room complaining of back pain. He told the emergency department staff that he was taking an antibiotic to treat a MRSA infection. Riedel was later discharged from Lodi Community Hospital with a diagnosis of simple muscle strain.

The next day, he returned to the emergency room with worsening back pain. Again, Riedel informed the emergency department staff about the antibiotic he was taking and his MRSA history. The emergency room physician, Dr. Christopher Kalapodis, ordered a CT scan, which ruled out a kidney stone as the cause of the problem.

Riedel was then given a dose of morphine and an anti-inflammatory before he was again discharged. The next day however, he required additional treatment in the emergency room where he was diagnosed as having a spinal epidural abscess. Despite efforts through surgery and rehabilitation, Riedel was left a paraplegic.
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This case arrived at the Illinois Appellate Court as an interlocutory appeal that came about from the plaintiff Eric Owens’s lawsuit against the defendant hospital, Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital, and its doctors related to the care received by Owens at the hospital’s emergency room in 2011. He initially named Dr. Ahmed Raziuddin as a defendant in the lawsuit as the physician who treated him in the emergency room based on Dr. Raziuddin’s name appearing in the hospital’s records as the treating physician.

However, it turns out that Dr. Raziuddin filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit claiming that he was not the doctor treating Owens and that a Dr. Seema Elahi was actually the treating physician. That motion was granted.

Owens then amended his complaint adding Dr. Elahi as a party defendant replacing Dr. Raziuddin. Dr. Elahi then filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the statute of limitations had expired.

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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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Melissa Bain, in her capacity as the personal representative of the estate of her deceased husband Christopher Heath (“Heath”), appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Colbert County Northwest Alabama Health Care Authority d/b/a Helen Keller Hospital (“HKH”). Dr. Preston Wigfall was the emergency room physician working at the hospital on the night Heath was taken to the emergency room.

This matter began because Heath complained he had a lump in his throat that would not go away. When the pain became unbearable, he was taken to the hospital’s emergency room. In his history was the fact that his father had died of an aneurysm at the age of 47 and that he also had hypertension. He was on high blood pressure medication.

In the ER there was no evidence that the nurses on duty bothered to review his medical history with him. Dr. Wigfall, who was the emergency room physician on duty that night, did not remember if he took Heath’s medical history. Nothing was recorded in that respect.
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Kristine Haveman, 38, collapsed at home and was brought to a nearby hospital in an unresponsive condition. The emergency room personnel examined her and ordered a CT scan. Doctors interpreted the scans as normal. That evening a neurologist diagnosed a thrombus in the left cerebral artery, which necessitated thrombolytic therapy.

Because of the delay in diagnosis and treatment, she suffered cognitive deficits resulting in problems with speech and word retrieval. She also has experienced fatigue and right-sided weakness. She had been a teacher who planned to return to work but is now unable to do so.

Haven filed a lawsuit against Dr. Kenneth Dirk, an emergency room physician and his employer, Oregon Emergency Physicians, claiming that these defendants’ negligence was the cause of an eight-hour delay in administering thrombolytic medication.The lawsuit claimed that the CT scan had been misinterpreted and that Haveman was wrongfully treated with Ativan for anxiety and emotional problems before the neurologist’s stroke diagnosis.
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Michael Sebestl, 37, experienced the sudden onset of severe chest pain. This occurred at home around 6 a.m. on June 1, 2008. He told his wife he thought he was having a heart attack, so she called 911 and he was taken by ambulance to Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Ill. On the way to the hospital, he told the paramedics that he had a history of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and that his current symptoms were similar to those but worse than he had ever experienced.

At Riverside Hospital, Sebestl continued to complain of chest pain and a burning sensation on the back of his throat, which was worse when lying on his back. He was examined by the defendant emergency room physician Dr. Manczko, who was near the end of his 12-hour shift. Dr. Manczko interpreted the EKG as normal, ordered a chest x-ray and made a provisional diagnosis of GERD.

Then the care was turned over to another defendant ER physician, Dr. Donna Bell. After the x-ray came back negative, Dr. Bell decided to conduct a more thorough evaluation and ordered further testing, which included a second EKG and blood work for serial cardiac enzymes, Lipase and D-Dimer levels. After all the tests came back normal and the patient’s pain was reduced with narcotic pain medications to a level of 3 out of 10, Dr. Bell diagnosed GERD and discharged Sebestl from the hospital around noon that day.
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Nakeyia McMichael, a 33-year-old nurse, was hospitalized for treatment for a cerebral edema. Just 18 months later she returned to the hospital’s emergency room complaining of head pain, nausea and vomiting.

Two hospital emergency department residents and the defendant, Dr. John Pakiela, an osteopath employed by General Emergency Medical Specialists, diagnosed her with a migraine headache and discharged her with medicine. The very next day, she became unresponsive and died. The cause was determined to be brain herniation resulting from the cerebral edema or brain swell. McMichael was survived by her husband and three minor children.

The McMichael family sued Dr. Pakiela and his employer alleging that he failed to refer her to a neurologist for further workup. The McMichael family claimed that in light of her medical history, Dr. Pakiela should have reviewed her medical records before discharging her and should have considered cerebral edema as a possible cause of her renewed symptoms. The doctor should have ruled out the most deadly and dangerous of illnesses or conditions.

Dwayne Kantorowski underwent surgery to treat a brain tumor. He was just 45 years old, but he later experienced stroke-like symptoms. He promptly went to a hospital emergency room where he underwent an EKG. Although the test showed abnormalities, the attending emergency physician did not order additional blood tests or cardiac enzyme tests and did not refer him for a cardiology consultation. That failure to refer was the claimed cause of his resulting death

Kantorowski was hospitalized for several days and then discharged. Just three days later however, he suffered a heart attack that left him in a vegetative state for 3 weeks before he died. He was survived by his parents.

His family filed suit against the emergency room physician and the primary care physician who treated Kantorowski during his hospitalization. It was alleged that the doctors chose not to arrange for a cardiology consultation in light of the abnormal EKG, which indicated he had suffered a heart attack. The lawsuit did claim lost income.

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Janice Bishop presented to the emergency department at Graham Hospital in Canton, Ill., with complaints of chest pain on July 19, 2010. The emergency room physician ordered an EKG, which demonstrated non-specific T-wave changes compared to a prior 2007 EKG.

Multiple nitroglycerine injections and one Lovenox injection were administered to Bishop in the ER. She was then admitted to a post-coronary care unit under the attention of the defendant physician Dr. Patrick Renick. Serial EKGs were then done.

Dr. Renick discharged Bishop the next morning, July 20, 2010, with orders for a stress test to be done as an outpatient.  The outpatient stress test was scheduled for July 23, 2010, but she subsequently canceled it due to insurance coverage issues.

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