A jury has determined that a 55 year-old woman was caused to lose both of her legs due to the medical malpractice of a nurse. The lawsuit alleged that the visiting home nurse failed to properly report a catheter infection that nearly killed the woman.
The medical malpractice lawsuit filed on behalf of the woman alleged that an unrecognized and untreated infection caused the woman to suffer from bacteremia, septic shock, acidosis, respiratory failure, gangrene, and tissue necrosis, resulting in the need for three surgeries and the amputation of a finger and both of her legs.
What Happened To This Woman?
From August 20 to August 26, 2008, the woman was hospitalized for necessary medical care related to infection. On August 26th, she was discharged to a skilled nursing facility (nursing home) for continuing care. On September 29th, she was discharged from the skilled nursing facility to home, with continuing home care that included total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and intravenous Solu-Medrol for continuing care for her pre-existing Crohn’s disease (a form of inflammatory bowel disease).
On October 1st, the woman was experiencing problems that resulted in her being brought to a local hospital where it was determined that she had a PICC (percutaneous indwelling central line) failure. Therefore, a new catheter was surgically placed. She was sent home the same day.
On October 6th, blood testing indicated that the woman had an infection and metabolic acidosis (a condition where the body produces too much acid and the kidneys cannot remove enough acid from the body). The visiting home nurse documented the test results indicating metabolic acidosis that same day.
On October 13th, the visiting home nurse documented redness around the catheter site. Blood testing the same day indicated an infection and metabolic acidosis. On October 15th, the visiting home nurse documented that the woman was in “acute respiratory distress,” at which time she was transported to the local emergency department. She was transported by Medevac helicopter to a larger regional hospital the same day, where she was diagnosed with septic shock due to central venous catheter line sepsis, acute renal failure, hyperkalemia (higher-than-normal levels of potassium in the blood), metabolic and lactic acidosis, and coagulopathy (a condition where the blood’s ability to clot is impaired). She was hospitalized for 42 days during which a finger, her lower left leg, and her lower right leg had to be amputated in order to save her life.
The seven-day medical malpractice trial resulted in the jury finding that the visiting home nurse was negligent in her care of the woman and that her medical negligence was the cause of the woman having to have her legs and a finger amputated, her substantial pain and suffering, etc.
One may feel sorry for the visiting home nurse until one focuses on the only victim in this medical malpractice claim — the 55 year-old woman who had to have both of her legs amputated solely because the medical care she was provided (or was not provided) led to the unnecessary and avoidable situation where amputations were required to save the woman’s life.
If the medical negligence of a medical provider has caused you or a family member to suffer severe injuries, long-term pain and suffering, other losses, or death, the negligent medical provider may be held responsible to pay compensatory damages as a result of a medical malpractice claim. Visit our website or telephone us toll free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with local medical malpractice attorneys who may be able to assist you with a medical malpractice claim.
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