Articles Posted in Hospital Errors

William Mann had a history of smoking. He underwent a routine physical including a chest x-ray, which was interpreted as normal. However, three years later, he was diagnosed as having metastatic lung cancer.

In spite of chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer treatments, including a procedure to reinforce the bones in his back, he died 20 months after the diagnosis. He was 58 years old and was survived by his wife and four adult children at the time of his death.

The Mann family sued the United States alleging that the Veterans Administration (VA) radiologist chose not to identify a suspicious 1.5-centimeter density on the left lung visible on the chest x-ray done three years before Mann’s fatal diagnosis.
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Andrew Swanson had a history of various medical problems including diabetes, end-stage renal disease and gangrene. After undergoing a skin graft on his right foot, he was transferred to Regional Hospital for Respiratory and Complex Care.
He was in his mid-40’s and was treated with foot dressing to be changed daily and wrapped with non-elastic Kerlix dressing.

In spite of this procedure ordered by his treating physicians, a Regional Hospital nurse applied an elastic Ace bandage and left it in place for three days.
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Michael Fava, 58, went to the emergency department complaining of leg pain that had not improved since he was seen at another hospital the previous day. He was diagnosed with having a retroperitoneal hemorrhage and a lack of blood flow to the legs.

However, the treating vascular surgeons, Dr. Harold Chung-Loy and Dr. Vincent Moss, chose not to determine the cause of the bleeding.

Fava spent four days in the hospital, which ended when he had bilateral above-the-knee leg amputations as a result of the lack of blood flow to his legs.
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Sarita Kellman, 70, underwent treatment for a fractured left ankle. After the ankle was repaired at Bellevue Hospital Center, a nurse offered her the use of crutches. However, she requested an escort, telling the nurse that she was feeling lightheaded and that she could not use the crutches safely. The nurse refused Kellman’s request for an escort as she was being discharged from the hospital.

Kellman took a taxi home. While getting out of the cab, she fell, fracturing her right wrist and left ankle. This was the same ankle that had been fractured earlier. Kellman was taken back to the hospital where she underwent wrist surgery followed by a second ankle surgery and rehabilitation.

Kellman now suffers pain in her right wrist and restricted range of motion. She sued the hospital’s operator, alleging that the nurse was negligent in choosing not to provide her with an escort along with crutches.
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William Glynn Jr., 66, suffered an injury to his cervical spine in a car accident. He had limited use of his extremities following that incident. He underwent cervical spinal surgery at North Fulton Hospital and was gaining strength and showing signs of improvement.

However, three days after that surgery, hospital nurses tried to move Glynn from a reclining chair to his bed. They placed Glynn in a sling attached to a Hoyer lift, but his legs slid downward toward the floor. The hospital nurses pushed the Hoyer lift back toward the chair, which caused Glynn to strike his head against that chair.

The next day, Glynn awoke with new symptoms; a CT scan revealed a fractured-dislocation at C7 to T1. In spite of surgery about 40 hours after this incident, Glynn now suffers from incomplete quadriplegia and requires 24-hour-per-day care.
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The New York State Appellate Court has ruled that an orthopedic resident was not liable to a patient injured during a knee replacement surgery.

In this case, Carol Blendowski underwent a knee replacement surgery that was performed by Dr. Michael Wiese and Dr. Marc O’Donnell, who was a third-year orthopedic resident.

During the surgery, Blendowski suffered an injury to her peroneal and tibial nerves. These nerve injuries were permanent.
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A medical malpractice lawsuit arising from the death of Jeannette Turner first resulted in a jury verdict of $22.1 million in this medical malpractice, wrongful death lawsuit. Sadly, Turner died the night before the jury’s verdict. According to the report of this Illinois Appellate Court case, her death transformed her medical-malpractice lawsuit into a survival claim for Joi Jefferson, Turner’s daughter and the special representative of her estate. As a result, Jefferson was unable to recover compensation that was awarded for any injuries Turner would have suffered in the future.

“Compensatory tort damages are intended to compensate plaintiffs, not to punish defendants,” Justice Mary Anne Mason wrote in the 23-page opinion. “We would run afoul of this principle if we allowed Jeannette’s estate to collect an award for future injuries Jeannette will no longer suffer. For this reason, we limit plaintiff’s recovery to compensation for injuries Jeannette suffered prior to her death.”

Turner had sued Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in 2006 claiming that the hospital’s doctors chose not to care for her after installing a tracheostomy tube in her windpipe. A blood clot developed, causing her to go into respiratory arrest. She suffered serious brain damage after she was without oxygen for 20-25 minutes.
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Esmeralda Tripp, 42, suffered from atrial fibrillation (AFib) and was on Coumadin to manage her condition. While on this medicine, she experienced 17 instances of high INR (International Normalized Ratio). INR is a standardized number that is calculated in a laboratory. If a patient takes blood thinners, the INR is particularly important. INR is actually the timing mechanism for clotting. The prothrombin time, along with its derived measures of prothrombin ratio and international normalized ratio, are all used in evaluating the pathway of coagulation or blood clotting.

After the report of high INR, doctors prescribed Vitamin K, fresh frozen plasma or a discontinuation of the Coumadin.
After again understanding that she had high INR, Tripp went to the University of Arizona Medical Center. A resident physician, Dr. Olga Gokova, and her supervising physician suggested that Tripp take Profilnine, a prothrombotic.

Two hours after receiving an injection of the Profilnine, Tripp suffered a heart attack resulting from a blood clot in her coronary arteries. The blood clot caused her to experience oxygen deprivation, which led to profound brain damage. Today, she remains in a minimally conscious state.
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In a confidential report of this case, Doe, age 55, underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy performed by a surgeon and partner. During the procedure, the surgeon was concerned that one of the trocars used could have perforated the patient’s small bowel. A trocar is a medical device used in surgery and placed through the abdomen during laparoscopic surgery.

The surgeon told his associates, including his partner, that if the patient developed complications after her discharge, the diagnosis of a perforated small bowel should be considered.

The patient later called the surgical group advising them that she was experiencing persistent vomiting and severe pain. The surgeon advised her to go to the emergency room. There the patient reported severe abdominal pain. Testing revealed an elevated white count, and a CT scan showed extensive free air and fluid in her naval area. At the hospital, a radiologist diagnosed a possible perforation related to the recent surgery, a small bowel obstruction and an abdominal abscess.
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Mary Stevenson was 55 years old when she was taken to the hospital suffering from a severe headache and shortness of breath. At the hospital, she was diagnosed as having hypertension; a doctor prescribed blood pressure medication. She also underwent blood work before being discharged to her home.

Within hours of her discharge, she began to experience seizures and vomiting. She was rushed to another hospital where she was diagnosed as having bacterial meningitis. She lost consciousness and died just two weeks later. She is survived by her two adult children.

One of Stevenson’s daughters, individually and on behalf of her estate, sued two doctors who treated her at the first hospital maintaining that they chose not to diagnose and treat bacterial meningitis.
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