On July 21, 2016, a Georgia medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the defendant pulmonologist and the defendant ENT, finding that they had not breached the standard of care in their treatment of a 56-year-old man who they had examined in the hospital only hours before he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest. The Georgia medical malpractice trial lasted seven days and the medical malpractice jury deliberated for less than two hours before it returned the defense verdict.
The man was admitted to the hospital in October 2006 with severe swelling of his neck due to a bacterial infection. Days before, he had been diagnosed with myelodysplasia, which destroys the immune system and causes those diagnosed with the bone marrow disorder to be more susceptible to infections such as the infection the man had when he was admitted to the hospital.
The plaintiff’s medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the applicable standard of care required that the defendant physicians protect the man’s airway by either surgery or by intubating him shortly after they examined him, before the foreseeable emergency situation developed that led to the man’s death. The defense argued that the defendants were not required to intubate the patient when they examined him, which would have exposed the man to unnecessary danger and risk, and that the man’s death was as a result of the bacterial infection that he had that was difficult to treat due to his compromised immune system.
The defense further argued to the jury that the man’s condition drastically deteriorated after they examined him, noting that the man’s oxygenation was adequate at the time of their examinations, at which time the man was sitting up, was alert, and was breathing adequately.
What Is Myelodysplasia?
According to the MDS Foundation, myelodysplastic syndromes (“MDS”) are a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce sufficient healthy blood cells (the bone marrow manufactures red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets). When healthy, the bone marrow produces immature blood cells called stem cells, progenitor cells, or blasts that normally develop into mature, fully functional red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. In patients with MDS, stem cells may not mature and may accumulate in the bone marrow or they may have a shortened life span, resulting in fewer than normal mature blood cells in circulation. As a result, patients with MDS often suffer infections, anemia, spontaneous bleeding, or easy bruising.
The exact causes of MDS are unknown but radiation therapy and chemotherapy for cancer are among the known triggers for the development of MDS. Also, long term exposure to certain environmental or industrial chemicals, such as benzene, can trigger MDS.
Although not universally fatal, about 30% of people with MDS will develop acute myeloid leukemia (“AML”).
If you suffered harm as a result of possible medical negligence in Georgia or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Georgia medical malpractice lawyer or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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