Articles Posted in Hospital Errors

Doe, age 35, was hospitalized for treatment of pneumonia. Doe’s pneumonia cleared, but follow-up X-rays taken one month later and seven months after that showed a suspicious lesion on her lung. The radiologist interpreting the X-rays chose not to note or record the lesion.

Almost three years later, Ms. Doe underwent a CT scan, which formed the basis of a diagnosis of Stage IV inoperable non-small cell lung cancer.

The lawsuit alleged that the delayed diagnosis of lung cancer reduced Ms. Doe’s chances of survival from 85% to 10% in that the lesion measured 1 cm when first seen but had grown to 3.5 cm by the time she received the diagnosis.
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Eric Smith, 47, had been diagnosed with hypertension and suffered an intracranial hemorrhage at home.
He was assessed at a hospital and then transferred to another hospital for neurosurgical intervention in the event his hemorrhage worsened.

Smith remained stable at the second hospital and, several days later, was moved yet again into a third hospital where he was administered high doses of antihypertensive drugs and diuretics.
Smith’s condition initially improved at the third hospital but then began to deteriorate. This included the development of a dangerously low blood pressure.

Smith then suffered a series of ischemic strokes, which led to quadriparesis and dysphagia. He is now dependent on others for 24-hour-a-day care. Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties. Some people with dysphagia have problems swallowing certain foods or liquids, while others cannot swallow at all. Other signs of dysphagia include coughing or choking when eating or drinking.
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When Juanita Norton, 88, fell in her yard, she was taken to the local emergency room. At the hospital, she was diagnosed as having multiple pelvic fractures.

She was admitted to the hospital for pain control and rehabilitation when placed on DVT (deep vein thrombosis) prophylaxis.

During the hospitalization, Norton experienced pain, nausea, vomiting and constipation. Later, she had difficulty breathing. Unfortunately, Norton died three days after her hospital admission.
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Ms. Doe, 65, suffered from obesity and high blood pressure and underwent a hysterectomy. She was placed on Lovenox for four days until she was discharged.

Several weeks after leaving the hospital, Ms. Doe collapsed and was rushed to a nearby hospital. She was diagnosed as having bilateral pulmonary emboli, clotting her femoral artery, as well as a patent foramen ovale, a hole in her heart. Although surgery was attempted to correct these problems, the procedure was discontinued because of Ms. Doe’s deteriorating condition.

Ms. Doe later suffered ischemia in her right leg, which necessitated an above-the-knee amputation. She alleged that her treating gynecologist negligently chose not to continue her on the Lovenox following her hospital discharge. Had the defendant done so, Ms. Doe claimed, she would not have developed blood clots and the pulmonary emboli.
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This appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court involves a medical malpractice lawsuit brought against the hospital system, Allina Health System. The suit is based on the alleged negligence of independent contractors involved in providing care for a patient in the emergency rooms of two different hospitals owned by the hospital system. At issue is whether a hospital can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of an independent contractor based on the doctrine of apparent authority.

The state court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of the medical malpractice case on the ground that a hospital can be vicariously liable for a physician’s negligence only if the physician is an employee of the hospital. The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further disposition.

The plaintiff, Alla Popovich, brought this medical malpractice case as wife and guardian ad litem for her husband, Aleksandr Popovich, alleging that her husband suffered a stroke after receiving negligent medical care in the emergency room of two separate hospitals owned and operated by Allina Health System.
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Bryan O’Neal Roach, 23, went to a hospital emergency room complaining of chest pain. The physician assistant, Amber Harring, examined him. Diagnostic tests were ordered including an EKG, chest X-ray and bloodwork. Harring later discharged Roach after diagnosing atypical chest pain and febrile illness.

Unfortunately, later that morning, Roach died of an aortic dissection. He was survived by his parents.

The Roach family sued Harring, her employer, and her supervising physician, alleging they chose not to order a CT scan in light of Roach’s grossly abnormal chest X-ray, which showed a wide mediastinum. A mediastinum is an abnormal membranous partition between two body cavities or two parts of an organ, especially between the lungs. A widened mediastinum is indicative of an aortic aneurysm or an aortic dissection and other life-threatening conditions. This condition should have been diagnosed and treated as a medical emergency.
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Qiao Chen, 36, underwent an emergency cesarean section to deliver her twins. After the delivery, she experienced severe uterine bleeding and was transferred to the hospital’s post-anesthesia care unit.

Chen’s bleeding continued, her vital signs deteriorated, and she went into hemorrhagic shock. Hemorrhagic shock occurs when the body begins to shut down due to large amounts of blood loss. If the bleeding isn’t stopped immediately, the risk of death is great.

The emergency room staff administered packed red blood cells of fluid. The treating obstetrician, Dr. Thomas Tuan-Tong Lee, attempted to obtain additional blood products, but they were not readily available.
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A South Carolina appellate court has found that a hospital was not responsible to injured patients for choosing not to make sure that a physician had a valid medical malpractice insurance policy in place. Two former surgery patients sued the Laurens County Healthcare System alleging that the hospital was liable for deciding not to ensure that the plaintiffs’ treating surgeon, Dr. Byron Brown, maintain sufficient medical malpractice insurance coverage.

The plaintiffs obtained default judgments against Dr. Brown. They in turn asserted that such a duty was included in the hospital admissions contract, which included “services to be rendered” to the patient. The trial judge granted summary judgment in favor of the hospital.

In affirming the summary judgment order, the appeals panel stated that under the plain language of the admissions contract, it is not reasonable to conclude that the term “services to be rendered” refers to the act of monitoring a treating physician’s compliance with medical malpractice insurance requirements imposed by the hospital. The appellate court also rejected the plaintiffs’ contention that the hospital had negligently granted privileges to Dr. Brown.
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William Pratt, 75, a bilateral leg amputee, went to the Wills Eye Hospital emergency room at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He complained of eye pain and tearing. During his medical workup, Pratt’s eyes were dilated. He was then treated with an antibiotic eye ointment.

The attending physician discharged Pratt with a diagnosis of corneal abrasion. Pratt’s vision was impaired. He steered his motorized wheelchair over cement steps while leaving the hospital. He fell over, and his wheelchair fell on top of him, causing him to suffer a spinal cord injury and a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Pratt underwent surgery but, unfortunately, he later died. He was survived by five adult children. One of the Pratt children, on behalf of the estate, sued Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Wills Eye Hospital, alleging that its staff chose not to advise Pratt of the need for assistance following his discharge.
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In this medical malpractice lawsuit, the state supreme court of Utah affirmed the decision of the court of appeals, which affirmed the judgment of the district court excluding the plaintiff’s proximate cause expert’s testimony. The state high court held that the district court did not err.

Richard and Deanne Taylor’s daughter, Ashley, was diagnosed at a young age with a neurological disorder that caused her to suffer from spasticity. To control this effect, Ashley received the medication Baclofen through a catheter and an implanted Baclofen pump that delivered it into the thecal sac around her spinal cord.

On April 17, 2013, Ashley woke up suffering from severe shaking in her legs. She saw a physician at the University of Utah Hospital where she received an oral dose of Baclofen. The physician did several tests, which gave Ashley more oral Baclofen and instructed her to return the next day. Although the following day’s tests did not show an obvious sign of a problem, the doctor thought there might still be a problem with the pump. During that time, Ashley kept vomiting and had difficulty keeping down oral doses of Baclofen. After further consultation, the doctor recommended surgery to replace the pump and the catheter connected to it. The surgery was performed the following day. Ashley’s sister later agreed with the statement that Ashley was “back to herself” a day after the surgery.
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