Illinois Jury Considers Medical Malpractice Death That Occurred During Leg Surgery from MRSA Infection

Anthony Bausal was transported by ambulance to the emergency department at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Ill., on Sept. 20, 2008. Bausal had a cellulitis infection in his left leg, increased pain and shortness of breath. He also had underlying conditions of lupus nephritis, cardiomyopathy and chronic anemia.

Bausal, 34, was admitted into the hospital, where additional testing showed that he had a dangerously low cardiac ejection fraction of 20-25% (55% is considered normal), which is the measure of how the well or poorly the heart is pumping out blood through the body. He also had acute anemia and a gastric ulcer with erosive gastritis of the stomach.

One of the defendants, a general surgeon, Dr. Darryl Fernandes, was consulted on Sept. 25, 2008 because of concern about an infectious process in Bausal’s left leg.

Dr. Fernandes suspected that there was a possibility of necrotizing fasciitis and recommended the patient undergo a left leg incision and drainage surgery, which was done around 3:30 p.m. that same afternoon.

The anesthesia care for the procedure was given by another defendant, anesthesiologist Dr. Walter Knoll, and the defendant CRNA Peoples, which was a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

During the surgery, thigh tissue cultures revealed that Bausal was afflicted with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aurous) bacteria. Also during the surgery, Bausal experienced an increase in his heart rate, increase in blood pressure and C02 levels. About 40 minutes into the surgery, Bausal developed an abrupt onset of brachycardia, dangerously high heart rate, and then he went into cardiac arrest. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Bausal was pronounced dead at 5 p.m. He was survived by his wife and his son.

The cause of his death was determined to be sepsis and septic shock. The family filed a lawsuit against the general surgeon, the anesthesiology company, the anesthesiologist and anesthetist and contended that all of these defendants chose not to anticipate, monitor and timely treat the foreseeable effects of toxins that were known to be in Bausal’s bloodstream.

The family also claimed that Dr. Knoll, the anesthesiologist, and the CRNA chose not to properly assess Bausal prior to his surgery during the pre-operative evaluation. They also maintained that the defendants were negligent in choosing not to insert a pulmonary artery catheter or a central venous catheter, which would have alerted the doctors to the patient’s distress, they failed to adequately monitor him during the surgery, administer proper sedation medications, chose not to recognize and respond timely to the ominous vital signs during the surgery, chose not to prevent intraoperative cardiovascular collapse and Dr. Knoll chose not to properly supervise the anesthetist.

The defendants argued that Bausal needed surgery emergently, that he was adequately prepped and ready for surgery and that any additional monitoring would not have changed the outcome. As is many times the case, defendants assert that sometimes the outcome is not what might be expected, but there was still no negligence. Defendants of medical negligent cases also are prone to make out the defense that bad things happen to people without any fault of any medical providers. Nevertheless, the jury was convinced that the medical providers did no harm, and after deliberating 4 ½ hours they found in favor of all of the defendants and against the family of Anthony Bausal.

The Estate of Anthony Bausal v. Dr. Walter Knoll, McLean County Anesthesiology, Ltd., et al., 10 L 178 (McLean County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice lawsuits, hospital negligence cases, physician negligence cases, nursing home abuse cases, birth injury cases and nursing negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Chicago (Bridgeport, Humboldt Park, Chinatown, Little Italy, Gold Coast, South Shore, East Side, Lake Calumet, Roseland, Washington Heights, Marquette Park, Midway, Belmont Heights, Albany Park, Irving Park, Clybourn Corridor, Chrysler Village, Bucktown), Calumet Heights, Geneva, Fox River Grove, Deerfield, Palatine, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Palos Park, Oak Forest, Orland Park, St. Charles and Western Springs, Ill.

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