Articles Posted in Hospital Errors

Often we hear about large awards paid to patients who were injured in hospitals or other health care facilities. An unusually large award was announced in the case of a brain-damaged woman. It is something of a landmark award because of the amount of money involved. The city announced it planned to appeal the award.

A Bronx jury awarded about $120 million to a woman who has been incapacitated since she was treated at three New York hospitals in 2004.

The award, by a State Supreme Court jury, was made in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Jacqueline Martin by her mother. Martin suffered brain damage after a series of hospital visits in February 2004.
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A hospital and doctor have agreed to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit filed by an Indiana mother whose baby sustained permanent brain damage during child birth in 2002.

The mother, K.C., on behalf of her daughter, filed the lawsuit in 2010 against Dr. Monique Jones and Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest. The plaintiff alleged that, when she went into labor, Jones acted negligently.

The lawsuit says Jones, who was the patient’s obstetrician, failed to recognize that the fetus was distressed. The doctor ordered or gave K.C. more Pitocin, a contraction-inducing drug. Increased contractions resulted in a loss of oxygen to the baby, and the baby suffered a permanent brain injury, according to the plaintiff’s suit.
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A jury reached a not guilty verdict against defendant Dr. Glenn A. Woudenberg, Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital, Vanguard Health Systems and MN Anesthesia LLC in the death of a steelworker who underwent a right hip revision surgery and died two days later.

The case was reported in the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter.

The steelworker, E.C., underwent surgery Oct. 9, 2007. He incurred $109,000 in medical bills. His estate contended that the death was caused by episodes of low blood pressure during the surgery, which led to an ischemic injury to the kidney, bowel and other vital organs.
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David Scheer, the father of Matthew Scheer, drove his son to the emergency room at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center because David noticed that his son had added some disturbing posts on social media. Matthew was 26 at the time. He was also suffering from auditory and visual hallucinations. Matthew was diagnosed as having suffered a break from reality and was admitted to the hospital when he arrived.

As an inpatient, Matthew was seen by two hospitalists. While at this facility, Matthew became agitated, accused the nurses of being devil worshippers, and told staff that he wished to leave the facility.

The second attending hospitalist did not contact David Scheer, Matthew’s father, about his son’s intentions. He allowed Matthew to leave the hospital against medical advice during an Atlantic coast hurricane. Matthew disappeared and reportedly drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. His death certificate listed his death as a suicide. He is survived by his parents and sibling.
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The parents of a 22-year-old man were awarded $2.68 million by a jury after their son died when a hospitalist at Columbia Medical Center of Arlington, Texas, failed to order a CT scan and surgery to repair a hole in his liver.

The case was reported in the American Association of Justice Professional Negligence Law Reporter.

The patient, M.H., suffered flu symptoms over a two-week period. He was admitted to the Medical Center of Arlington, where he underwent an ultrasound-guided liver biopsy. Several hours later, a treating nurse noted that he was dizzy and sweating profusely.
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T.S., a 55-year-old male, was hospitalized at Provena St. Joseph Hospital from April 9 to April 15, 2005, and received outpatient care from April 18 to April 28, 2005. He complained of back pain to nurses, but it was claimed that this information was not communicated to the attending doctors.

T.S. alleged that he suffered a spinal infection, which was not included in the differential diagnosis of the treating physicians, and that appropriate diagnostic imaging studies and lab tests were not done. Because of the infection, T.S. suffered permanent paraplegia, paralysis from the chest down, and neurogenic bowel and bladder dysfunction. He is confined to a wheelchair.

The medical negligence lawsuit was brought against Provena Hospital, treating physicians, radiologists and Kishwaukee Hospital, where T.S. was admitted on April 28, 2005.
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Michelle Phibbs, 29, had a history of mental illness. She was admitted to Heartland Behavioral Healthcare, a state-run psychiatric hospital, for an inpatient stay after experiencing difficulty following the death of a close family friend.

A psychiatrist diagnosed bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and alcohol abuse, among other problems, and prescribed Ativan, Geodon and Thorazine.

One morning, after Phibbs was released from restraints, a nurse noted that she had forced breathing and was gasping. In the next hour, the facility’s staff checked on Phibbs three times until a nurse found her unresponsive.
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A proposed Illinois law would limit the number of patients each hospital nurse would be allowed to care for at one time. The proposed legislation was based on a national survey, which suggested that such a rule would lead to better working conditions for nurses and would benefit patient care.

However, Illinois’ leading hospital lobbying group remained solidly opposed to the idea, arguing it would result in the closure of many hospitals, especially in less populated rural areas, and would accelerate the already rising costs of healthcare.

The survey was conducted in 2018 by the group Nurses Take DC, a national organization that lobbies for stricter nurse-to-patient ratios.
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Rodney Knoepfle, 67, suffered from significant health problems. He had a history of stroke and orthopedic and cardiac problems. Before all this took place, he executed an advance directive, which designated his wife to make healthcare decisions and stated his desire to forego life-sustaining healthcare treatment should that become necessary. In other words, he signed this directive stating that he did not wish to be resuscitated in case of a deteriorating medical condition.

When Knoepfle began feeling poorly, he was admitted to St. Peter’s Hospital. He provided his advanced directive to the nurses and staff who entered a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order into the hospital computer system.

However, two days later, Knoepfle became non-responsive, prompting a nurse to call for help. When no one responded to the call, the nurse called a code. The on-duty hospitalist, Dr. Lee Harrison, came to Knoepfle’s bedside and performed chest compressions for 10 to 15 minutes. Knoepfle was resuscitated; however, he then coded the following day. Dr. Harrison then gave Knoepfle adrenaline.
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Hospital-borne infections have been a problem for years, and drug-resistant bacteria like MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) have become household names. However, a New York Times article highlights another virus that is causing a high rate of death among children and the elderly. The article provides some insight into how the medical community could help decrease the number of deaths.

Norovirus is an extremely contagious virus and in recent years has become the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis. And while many of the symptoms caused by norovirus mimic that of the flu or a severe cold, e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain; epidemiologist Aron Hall warns, “I think there is perhaps a misperception that norovirus causes a mild illness; . . . [it is] a major problem that requires some attention.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year norovirus causes over 20 million illnesses, leads to 70,000 hospitalizations, and results in 800 deaths. In addition, norovirus is the most common cause of food disease outbreaks in the U.S. Because norovirus has much in common with C. difficile, a bacterial infection, medical officials are examining the ways hospitals and nursing homes have tried to combat the spread of C. diff to try and help reduce the spread of norovirus.
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