A federal medical malpractice lawsuit filed on July 21, 2015 in the U.S. District Court in Florida alleges that the medical negligence of the medical personnel involved with a retired Navy Chief’s colonoscopy and endoscopy performed at Naval Hospital Jacksonville (Florida) led to his severe and permanent brain injury suffered as a result of the lack of oxygen to his brain during the procedures, which left the man in a vegetative state requiring nursing home care.
The Navy veteran came to Naval Hospital Jacksonville on July 8, 2014 for a routine diagnostic colonoscopy and endoscopy. The man completed the pre-procedure medical history form in which he noted he suffered from asthma and arthritis but he did not indicate that he had other breathing problems despite having sleep apnea (the plaintiff’s lawyer alleges in the federal medical malpractice lawsuit that the pre-procedure medical questionnaire, which was drafted in 2004, was outdated in light of the rapidly developing area of diagnosing sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, which was not specifically included in the questionnaire).
Nonetheless, the man had been treated at Naval Hospital Jacksonville in the past and his sleep apnea history and diagnosis were documented in the electronic medical records, which included the daily use of a CPAP machine to treat his sleep apnea, which medical records the plaintiff’s federal medical malpractice lawsuit alleges should have been reviewed by the medical personnel involved with his colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures before those procedures were performed. The plaintiff alleges that had the man’s sleep apnea been noted before the diagnostic procedures, certain precautions should have been employed by the anesthesiologist during the procedures to insure that the man’s airway would be properly maintained.
The federal medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that while the man’s oxygen level was noted to be falling during the procedures, the anesthesiologist was slow to react, leading to cardiac arrest and brain damage. The medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the medical personnel took too long to perform resuscitation, including inserting a breathing tube into the man’s airway, which led to the man’s brain being deprived of oxygen for twenty-two minutes (the medical malpractice plaintiff’s lawyer alleges that the procedures to revive the man should have taken no longer than three minutes).
The 47-year-old man now resides in a nursing home, unable to talk, walk, eat, or communicate with his wife or others.
A spokesperson for Naval Hospital Jacksonville stated that the hospital remains “deeply committed to providing the best possible care to patients. We have an aggressive patient safety initiative … and follow national accepted standards of care. In many cases we meet and exceed those standards.”
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