Jeffrey N. Catalano and Maria T. Davis recently obtained a $1.1 million pre-trial settlement with a hospital in a medical malpractice case involving the hospital's failure to admit a man to ICU despite his pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.
On April 22, 2015, a 64-year-old man was admitted to the emergency department of a hospital with chief complaints of shortness of breath and blood clots in his lower extremities. About four weeks prior to admission, surgery was performed on the man's fractured left ankle after he had slipped on ice.
After more than 10 hours from first entering the hospital, the man was finally transported from the emergency department to the general floor. Shortly thereafter, he went into cardiac arrest due to a pulmonary embolism and was pronounced dead after 50 minutes of attempted CPR.
The man's widow alleged in her wrongful death lawsuit that the various medical professionals who examined the man in the emergency department breached their duty of care by failing to promptly recognize his high-risk medical condition and failing to admit him to ICU for close monitoring in the event of rapid deterioration. The plaintiff's medical expert also opined that an anti-coagulant treatment should have been administered to the man within an hour of admission to the emergency department, rather than more than five hours after admission.
The defendants contested liability on the basis that nothing they did or failed to do caused or contributed to the man's death. They asserted that throughout his stay in the emergency department he did not complain of chest pain or any respiratory distress, was conversant and aware up to the time he went into cardiac arrest, and his heart was hemodynamically stable.
Mr. Catalano, a partner at the firm, concentrates his practice on representing victims of catastrophic injuries in medical negligence and other personal injury cases. Ms. Davis represents plaintiffs in medical malpractice and other complex personal injury matters.