Articles Posted in Nursing errors

A lawsuit has been filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) in a Louisiana federal court. The lawsuit claims that the patient, Lucille Bruno, died because a federally funded clinic ignored signs of breast cancer that led to her death. The lawsuit seeks $5 million in damages.

The surviving children and husband of Lucille Bruno have alleged that Southwest Primary Healthcare and its nurse practitioner who examined Bruno chose not to properly react to what is claimed as signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Southwest Primary Healthcare is a federally funded clinic, which means the U.S. government is a defendant in this case along with the nurse practitioner, Debbie Vidrine.

In September 2013, Bruno first went to an emergency room in Louisiana. She was complaining of breast pain and told the doctors of a lump in her breast. The hospital, which is not a party to this lawsuit, sent her on her way with instructions to follow up with another primary care physician should her symptoms continue.
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Melissa Bain, in her capacity as the personal representative of the estate of her deceased husband Christopher Heath (“Heath”), appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Colbert County Northwest Alabama Health Care Authority d/b/a Helen Keller Hospital (“HKH”). Dr. Preston Wigfall was the emergency room physician working at the hospital on the night Heath was taken to the emergency room.

This matter began because Heath complained he had a lump in his throat that would not go away. When the pain became unbearable, he was taken to the hospital’s emergency room. In his history was the fact that his father had died of an aneurysm at the age of 47 and that he also had hypertension. He was on high blood pressure medication.

In the ER there was no evidence that the nurses on duty bothered to review his medical history with him. Dr. Wigfall, who was the emergency room physician on duty that night, did not remember if he took Heath’s medical history. Nothing was recorded in that respect.
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A Cook County jury signed a verdict after answering a special interrogatory in this medical malpractice case related to the prescription of a drug Adriamycin, which is given to cancer patients for chemotherapy and is known to cause heart damage as one of its risks.

The special interrogatory given to the jury was: “Do you find that the conduct of Dr. Weyburn (the oncologist), as set forth in the (jury) instructions was negligent and that such negligence was a proximate cause of Beata Gorgon’s injuries?”  The answer given by this jury was “No.”

Beata Gorgon, 44, presented to the defendant Dr. Thomas Weyburn, an oncologist, in August 2008 for treatment of Stage 3 breast cancer. Dr. Weyburn prescribed Adriamycin for the chemotherapy regimen. Dr. Weyburn contended in this lawsuit that he ordered an echocardiogram for Gorgon prior to the start of the delivery of the Adriamycin and then elected to start giving the drug before she underwent the test.

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A 15-month-old child was admitted to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital with pneumonia. After a nurse tried three times to place an endotracheal tube, a pediatric critical care specialist intubated the child successfully. However, because of oxygen deprivation related to the nurse’s misplacement of the endotracheal tube into the child’s esophagus, he was catastrophically brain damaged. In this case, the unnamed child was referred to as “Doe” and requires constant care.

Doe and his family filed a lawsuit against the nurse and the pediatric critical care physician alleging that the nurse should not have attempted to intubate Doe more than once. It was also claimed that the doctor should have supervised the nurse during the attempted intubation and should have taken over after her first attempt failed. The lawsuit claimed that the defendants chose not to timely recognize that the endotracheal tube had been misplaced into Doe’s esophagus.

Finally, the Doe family alleged that the hospital was vicariously liable for the actions of the nurse and the doctor.

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Michael Banks was 39 years old when he underwent cervical spine surgery. Right after the surgery, he began to experience fever, chills and coughing. His wife called the office of the treating neurosurgeon, Dr. Shahram Rezaiamiri, and told one of the doctor’s medical assistants about her husband’s symptoms. The Banks family did not hear from the doctor, which prompted another call later that afternoon.

Dr. Rezaiamiri’s medical assistant, Teshara Hall, later returned the call to Banks’s wife and said she would pass along the message to Dr. Rezaiamiri. The doctor never called back.

Early the next morning, Banks suffered a fatal respiratory arrest. The cause of death was determined to be pneumonia resulting from bilateral Alpha Strep. Alpha Strep is also known as alpha hemolysis. This is sometimes referred to as green hemolysis because of the color change in the colony of bacteria. The Alpha Strep or alpha hemolysis is caused by hydrogen peroxide produced by bacteria and often leads to pneumonia.

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Carl Beauchamp, 44, fell and hit his head. He was taken to Rhode Island Hospital where he underwent testing and was released with instructions to return if he noticed changes in his state of mind. Beauchamp, who initially was able to walk, talk and respond to commands after the fall, later became confused. He returned to the hospital.

A neurosurgery resident examined him and diagnosed his condition as post-concussive syndrome. Beauchamp was admitted to a general medical floor. During a critical 40-hour period when neuro-checks were required frequently, hospital nurses performed just one check.

Beauchamp’s condition worsened to where he responded to only painful stimuli and was unable to blink, talk and follow instructions or commands.

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Perry Pace was seven weeks old when he experienced viral symptoms, including chronic diarrhea and frequent vomiting for one week. Perry was transported by ambulance to a hospital emergency room where he was seen by an emergency physician, Dr. Patrick Hawley. The doctor examined Perry and diagnosed a viral infection before discharging the baby with instructions to take Pedialyte and instructed Perry’s mother to let the virus run its course.

Three days later Perry died as a result of dehydration. The child is survived by his mother. Ms. Barker, who sued Dr. Hawley alleging he chose not to diagnose and treat Perry’s early dehydration. Ms. Barker asserted that Dr. Hawley spent only five minutes with Perry and chose not test his blood and urine, administer IV fluids or consult the paramedics, who observed Perry as having lethargy and impaired respirations during his transport to the emergency room.

Ms. Barker also sued the hospital claiming liability for its nurse’s failure to recognize Perry was mildly dehydrated or at risk for dehydration, chose not to take an adequate history and go up the chain of command when Dr. Hawley chose not to run a fluid challenge test.

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Brett L., 12, underwent a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy at a children’s’ hospital. After the procedure, Brett was extubated and transferred to the hospital’s post-anesthesia care unit (PACU).

Over the next 90 minutes, Brett‘s parents noticed that he was snoring. A nurse refused the parents’ request that Brett be repositioned. The parents then sought other help and found a nurse’s aide who turned Brett over to find that he was not breathing at all.

Despite resuscitation efforts, Brett died. He was survived by his parents and two siblings.

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Jerry Medlin, 60, underwent cataract surgery in his left eye. The surgery was completed by an ophthalmologist, Dr. Timothy Young. During the surgery, Dr. Young called for VisionBlue, a staining solution used in cataract surgeries. A nurse during surgery tried unsuccessfully to retrieve the solution from the hospital’s automated medication dispensing system. She then typed “blue” into the system, which gave her the option to receive Methylene Blue.

The nurse took the Methylene Blue to the operating room and told the doctor that she had the drug. A technologist also announced the name of the same drug and then drew up a syringe, which Dr. Young injected into Medlin’s eye.

Medlin suffered toxic anterior segment syndrome. Despite a corneal grafting procedure, Medlin is now blind in his left eye. He filed a lawsuit against the hospital, Dr. Young and his practice, claiming negligent administration of a toxic substance. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

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On June 13, 2005, Raymond Jackson, then 50, was admitted to. Provena St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Ill., for intractable back pain. He had a pre-existing condition of spine problems and was suffering from an unstable fracture of the T-12 vertebrae, which was not timely diagnosed and treated and caused him to sustain permanent paraplegia by 8 a.m. on June 16, 2005. He died of related causes in 2008.

His medical malpractice lawsuit against several of the defendants settled for $2.77 million in 2012, which included $2.5 million from Provena Hospitals on behalf of its employee nurses and an outside nursing contractor.

The lawsuit had included allegations that after a flat bedrest order was entered at 5 p.m. on June 15, the nursing staff chose not to follow the doctor’s orders to keep the patient on flat bedrest and chose not to prevent him from moving during the next 15 hours, which caused or contributed to the hematoma that was found compressing his spinal cord.

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