Articles Posted in Hospital Errors

Dwayne Kenney suffered a fractured left leg in a motorcycle crash. He underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery, which was performed by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Cyrus Kump II. Kenney suffered complications and, suspecting an infection, Dr. Kump removed the plates and screws from his leg approximately three months later. During that procedure, Dr. Kump was unable to close the skin over Kenney’s exposed tibia. Nevertheless, Dr. Kump ordered only dressing changes for the next four weeks, leaving the wound open to the air.

Six months later, a plastic surgeon attempted to cover Kenney’s exposed bone. Kenney contracted MRSA, osteomyelitis, and the procedure failed in less than two weeks. Several months after that, Kenney’s left leg required amputation. Although it was not reported, it may be assumed that the amputation was below the knee.

Kenney sued Dr. Kump and his practice alleging that Kump chose not to place an external fixator to stabilize the fractured tibia during the second surgery and decided not to timely consult a plastic surgeon to address an exposed tibia within five days of the procedure. The exposure of the bone to air led to the infection, which included osteomyelitis.
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Samuel Chifalo, 63, fell and hit his head. An ambulance crew arrived and put a cervical collar on before taking him to Parkview Medical Center.

At the hospital, the staff noted that Chifalo had difficulty moving his arms and legs. Nevertheless, emergency room physician Dr. Ashley Ostrand did not document this condition after doing a physical exam and recording Chifalo’s medical history. The doctor ordered CT scans of Chifalo’s neck and head and discharged him from the hospital with a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.

The next day, Chifalo was unable to walk and returned to the emergency room at the same hospital. This time Dr. Ostrand ordered MRIs of his head and cervical and thoracic spinal cord regions. Chifalo was then diagnosed as having a spinal cord injury at C3-4 with quadriparesis. Despite rehabilitation, Chifalo continued to suffer from paralysis.
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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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