Articles Posted in Infectious Disease

James Woodard was 64 years old and underwent the first of a two-part elective back surgery at the University of New Mexico Hospital. While Woodard was hospitalized, he was unknowingly exposed to MRSA, an infectious process that is hard to eradicate and usually contracted in hospitals.

One month after the first surgical procedure, Woodard underwent pre-operative procedures at the same hospital in anticipation of the second portion of his back surgery. After his second surgery, a nasal swab was positive for MRSA. Blood cultures returned two weeks later confirmed this finding. Woodard developed spinal osteomyelitis, a bone infection, and had numerous treatments, including surgeries, antibiotics and debridement to try remove the infection. Woodard required 135 days of hospital care and treatment at a rehabilitation facility.

He still requires medical care and now requires a wheelchair because of his condition. Woodard had been a city employee who planned to retire in just a few years.
Continue reading

Aaron Riedel, who was 28 at the time, went to Lodi Community Hospital emergency room complaining of back pain. He told the emergency department staff that he was taking an antibiotic to treat a MRSA infection. Riedel was later discharged from Lodi Community Hospital with a diagnosis of simple muscle strain.

The next day, he returned to the emergency room with worsening back pain. Again, Riedel informed the emergency department staff about the antibiotic he was taking and his MRSA history. The emergency room physician, Dr. Christopher Kalapodis, ordered a CT scan, which ruled out a kidney stone as the cause of the problem.

Riedel was then given a dose of morphine and an anti-inflammatory before he was again discharged. The next day however, he required additional treatment in the emergency room where he was diagnosed as having a spinal epidural abscess. Despite efforts through surgery and rehabilitation, Riedel was left a paraplegic.
Continue reading

Deborah Larkin, 42, underwent laparoscopic surgery. Over the next two days she complained of severe pain even with the use of medication. Larkin also developed tachycardia, low sodium levels, hypotension and an abnormally high white blood cell count.

A kidney physician, a nephrologist, diagnosed sepsis prompting the surgeon to order a swallow study which did not show any internal leakage. However, the laboratory results did show decreased CO2 and increased lactate levels.

Larkin’s conditioned worsened. She was transferred to intensive care the next day in respiratory distress with kidney failure. The surgeon performed exploratory surgery, which revealed that a 4-millimeter gastric leak was the cause of Larkin’s septic shock.
Continue reading

Ana Pereira, 29, was admitted to Monmouth Medical Center where she was diagnosed as having a kidney stone and renal colic. Her condition continued to deteriorate. Blood cultures were positive for bacterial growth by noon of the next day. Pereira underwent a successful procedure to drain her kidney after one failed attempt. However, she developed sepsis.

As a result of the sepsis, Pereira fell into a coma for 5 days and suffered a loss of peripheral circulation. Because of the lack of circulation, bilateral leg amputations and the removal of her left hand at the wrist were necessary.

Pereira sued four physicians who treated her at the medical center alleging negligent treatment of the kidney stone. She also alleged that an on-call urologist chose not to timely report to the hospital when the facility notified his employer of her condition. Pereira claimed that the employer of the urologist had contracted to handle emergency calls from the hospital despite the one-hour driving distance between the practice and the hospital, which precluded a medically acceptable response time.
Continue reading

Annabelle Glasgow, who was 71 years old, suffered from diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure. She was admitted to Temple University Hospital to undergo bilateral total knee replacements to be done by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Easwaran Balasubramanian. She developed pain at the incision site, swelling and drainage. In spite of these conditions, she was discharged from the hospital within 3 weeks after the bilateral total knee replacements.

After a follow-up appointment with Dr. Balasubramanian, she underwent an irrigation and debridement of her right knee. The cultures taken from that procedure revealed that she had a bacterial infection. She continued to have excessive drainage in the right knee and developed a pressure ulcer on her right heel.

The pressure sore required another hospitalization and several procedures, which included skin grafting, incision and drainage to address her wound.
Continue reading

Mary Leemputte came to the emergency room at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill., in April 25, 2011. She was admitted to this hospital suffering from severe abdominal pain, urinary tract infection, tachycardia or rapid heart rate and an elevated white blood cell count, which often is associated with an infectious process.

She had a history of chronic constipation and was diagnosed with a large bowel obstruction after a CT scan showed a large bulging at the site of a previous colon resection and anastomosis done in 2007.

One of the defendants, Dr. Jonathan Wallace, provided a surgical consultation that night. The doctor observed that her cecum was dilated as he reviewed the CT scan, determined her clinical presentation did not require immediate surgical intervention and ordered additional tests for further evaluation to take place the next morning.

Continue reading

Danielle Reardon underwent endoscopic sinus surgery with bilateral septoplasty at Tinley Woods Surgery Center in Tinley Park, Ill., on Dec. 7, 2005. The surgery was completed by the defendant, Dr. Joseph Gavron, who is an otolaryngologist. Dr. Gavron was to treat Reardon’s chronic pansinusitis and deviated nasal septum. At the end of the surgery, Dr. Gavron packed her nose with gel, foam and gauze soaked in a topical antibiotic. No oral post-op antibiotics were prescribed by Dr. Gavron.

She experienced what were described as unbearable headaches while recovering the next day. With no relief from the headaches, she took two doses of Vicodin. Continuing with the unbearable headaches, Reardon called 911 and was transported by ambulance to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., where she given two doses of morphine and the antibiotic Unasyn.

She later became unresponsive with an altered state of consciousness. She was then treated empirically with broad spectrum antibiotics for bacterial meningitis.

Continue reading

The plaintiff, Brian Dore, was 70 and retired when he saw his family practice physician, the defendant, Dr. Bradford Wainer.  It was April 16, 2012, and Dore complained of severe right shoulder pain when he started to play golf in March 2012. Dr. Wainer palpated something suspicious under Dore’s skin in the upper shoulder/chest area and heard a heart murmur.  Dr. Wainer ordered rib and chest x-rays, which were completed that day.  He also ordered a transthoracic echocardiogram for the following day.

The x-ray showed opacity in the upper right lung and potential pathologic fractures. The echocardiogram showed thickening of the mitral heart valve and small light mitral regurgitation, which the defendant doctor maintained was consistent with mitral systolic murmur and not indicative of any disease. Mitral regurgitation is the condition of a patient whose heart valve, the valve of the left of the heart, doesn’t close all the way and allows blood to flow back into the chamber. This would happen each time the mitral valve would close. It’s a dangerous condition.

Dr. Wainer then ordered blood tests and CT scans. The blood work showed mildly elevated white blood cell count, platelets and sedimentation rate as well as low hemoglobin (10.5), all of which were indicative of anemia.

Continue reading

On Aug. 31, 2010, 58-year-old Romil Pityou went to the Gerstein Eye Institute in Chicago with complaints of pain, redness and decreased vision in his right eye. He was treated by the defendant Melvyn A. Gerstein, M.D., an ophthalmologist. Over the next three weeks, he continued to undergo treatment by Dr. Gerstein. Two days after his last visit to the Gerstein Eye Institute, he went to a hospital emergency room where he was referred to a cornea/retina specialist who diagnosed him with endophthalmitis, which is an infection of the inner eye.

Pityou filed a lawsuit against Gerstein Eye Institute and Dr. Gerstein, maintaining that both were negligent by choosing not to properly treat his corneal infection. Without treatment, the delay caused him to suffer endophthalmitis, blindness of the right eye and a shrunken eyeball. He was fitted with a prosthetic shell.

The defendants contended that their treatment of the corneal ulcer was proper and within the standard of care. The defendants said the plaintiff’s eye corneal infection was not related to the corneal ulcer and that the endophthalmitis was likely caused by bacteria that was introduced to the eye during a prior cataract surgery.

Continue reading

Harvey Mantei, 60, underwent colon resection surgery performed by U.S. Veterans Hospital staff surgeon Dr. Karen Kwong. Within several days of the surgery, Mantei developed peritonitis and later required two more surgeries as well as additional hospitalizations for treatment of renal failure and MRSA.

Mantei continued to suffer abdominal pain and scarring and required a corset to support his weak abdominal area.

Mantei sued the United States because it operates veterans hospitals, alleging liability for Dr. Kwong’s failure to perform air and water testing during the colon resection surgery to ensure that the surgical connection was sufficient.

Continue reading