Articles Posted in Hospital Errors

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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Arleisha Hayes suffered from asthma. She was 44 years old at the time of this incident. She experienced shortness of breath when taken by ambulance to Hialeah Hospital. When she was admitted to the facility’s ICU and given a nasal swab, the swab showed no infection.

For the next several days, she was treated with steroids and antibiotics. After her condition improved somewhat, she was transferred to a telemetry floor.

While in the telemetry floor, Hayes developed severe shortness of breath and chest pains. This prompted a nurse to call for a rapid response. The house physician, Dr. Xavier Ramos, a medical school graduate who was not licensed to practice medicine, ordered a STAT chest X-ray and transferred her back to the ICU.
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The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reversed a summary judgment in favor of the defendant Swedish Covenant Hospital and Dr. Kamal.

This wrongful death and survival action was brought by Shicheng Guo, special administrator for the estate of the deceased, Shiqian Bao. The complaint alleged that Bao was brought to Swedish Covenant’s emergency department after experiencing a severe headache. She underwent a CT scan.

A few hours after being discharged from Swedish Covenant, another doctor reviewed her CT scan and found signs of a brain bleed. Bao was called back to Swedish Covenant for treatment. She chose not to pursue further treatment at Swedish Covenant and instead immediately presented herself to the emergency department at Lutheran General Hospital. Doctors at Lutheran General did another series of tests but did not diagnose a brain bleed and discharged her from the hospital without treatment. Bao died three days later of an alleged brain hemorrhage.
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After undergoing a temporal artery biopsy on an outpatient basis by a general surgeon, Jacqueline Childs developed swelling and paralysis on the right side of her face. She was subsequently diagnosed as having facial nerve neuropathy.

Childs has undergone steroid injection treatments for her facial pain and will require monthly ketamine infusions for the remaining years of her life.

She was in her 50s at the time of the injury and has incurred more than $98,400 in past medical expenses.

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At issue in this case, which ended in the Idaho Supreme Court, was whether the jury’s verdict would stand. A medical malpractice lawsuit was brought by Leila Brauner against AHC of Boise d/b/a Aspen Transitional Rehab (Aspen). The lawsuit arose out of Aspen’s delay in sending Brauner to the hospital following her knee replacement surgery, which was a substantial factor resulting in the amputation of her right leg above the knee at mid-thigh.

After a jury trial, a verdict in favor of Brauner was signed by the jury in the amount of $2,265,204 in damages.

Aspen appealed, alleging that various pre-trial and post-trial rulings were in error and resulted in an unsustainable judgment.
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Audene Moxley was taken by an ambulance from her home to Piedmont Medical Center. A nurse determined that she was at high risk for developing pressure ulcers and ordered preventive measures, including repositioning the patient every two hours.

Over Moxley’s 9-day hospitalization at this facility, she was left in the same position for multiple hours on many occasions. Although a nurse noted that Moxley had a suspected deep tissue injury, the staff did not timely consult a wound care specialist. In addition, during Moxley’s hospitalization, she developed paralysis below the waist.

For the remainder of her life, Moxley continued to suffer from pressure ulcers and paralysis. After her death, Moxley was survived by her four adult children.
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Ronald Fairrow, 56, underwent an appendectomy at Riverside Methodist Hospital. The surgical resident, Dr. Alon Geva, and nurse Megan Conrad attempted to insert a urinary catheter but encountered resistance.

Dr. Geva and Conrad made several more attempts until another doctor came and properly inserted the catheter.

Several days after the appendectomy surgery, Fairrow suffered severe bleeding in his urethra and later underwent surgery to stop the blood flow. Fairrow was unable to urinate due to the urethral damage and required Foley and supra pubic catheters for several months until he underwent urethral reconstruction surgery.
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Vincent Lowe brought this medical malpractice lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Franklin County, Mo., against Bryan J. Menges, D.O. and James D. Cassat, M.D. and their employers, Mercy Hospital East Communities (“Mercy Hospital”) and Mercy Clinic East Community (“Mercy Clinic”). In the lawsuit, they alleged that as a result of these defendants’ choosing not to timely diagnose and treat the condition known as mesenteric ischemia, which caused inadequate blood supply to Lowe’s intestines, a substantial portion of his lower bowel had to be removed leaving him with short bowel syndrome, which will require extensive ongoing medical care.

At the jury trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Lowe for past and future economic and noneconomic damages totaling $14,245,545. The jury made comparative fault assessments of 65% to Dr. Menges and Mercy Hospitals, 25% to Dr. Cassat and Mercy Clinic and 10% to Lowe for a net verdict of $12,820,990.

Mercy took an appeal challenging the admission of the life care plan that was prepared and submitted into evidence by Lowe’s expert.
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