Back in 1999, a paraplegic man went to a local Kentucky hospital’s emergency room, complaining of abdominal pain along with vomiting and constipation that were treated with an enema and pain medication before the man was discharged from the emergency room. That night, the man was vomiting blood all night and had severe abdominal pain. He returned to the hospital’s emergency room where laboratory tests indicated that he was critically sick, but he was discharged anyway, according to the medical malpractice case. The man died several hours later from peritonitis and a ruptured peptic ulcer.
A medical malpractice case was filed on behalf of the man’s estate in 2000 against the hospital and others, which included an allegation that the hospital engaged in the illegal practice of “patient dumping” that involves refusing to treat patients who are uninsured. The medical malpractice claim also included an allegation that the hospital threatened to call the police if the man returned to the emergency room.
The first medical malpractice jury trial ended in a mistrial. The second medical malpractice jury trial in 2005 resulted in a verdict against the hospital in the amount of $1.5 million in punitive damages, which was appealed. As a result of the appeal, a third jury trial that lasted three weeks until the end of February, 2012, resulted in the $1.45 million verdict for punitive damages in favor of the man’s estate. The hospital has vowed to appeal this latest jury verdict.
What Is Peritonitis?
Peritonitis is the inflammation of the peritoneum, which is the thin tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen and covers most of the abdominal organs. Peritonitis is life threatening so that its cause must be identified and treated promptly, often by surgery and antibiotics. Symptoms of peritonitis may include a very painful, tender, or distended (bloated) abdomen, which is often painful with movement or when touched. Other symptoms may include fever, chills, abdominal fluid, inability or reduced ability to pass stools or gas, decreased urine, excessive fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.
The man’s peritonitis was probably due to his ruptured peptic ulcer — the most common cause of secondary peritonitis is the spread of an infection from the digestive tract.
If you have been misdiagnosed in a hospital emergency room or the emergency room was negligent in its treatment of your condition, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries and suffering that you sustained as a result of the medical mistakes or errors. Often it is necessary to engage the services of a medical malpractice attorney to investigate the cause(s) of your injuries to determine if you have been harmed by medical malpractice.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your local area who may be able to investigate whether you have a valid claim for medical malpractice and to represent you in your medical malpractice claim, if appropriate. If you prefer, you may also contact us toll free at 800-295-3959.
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