As reported in the Jan. 6, 2014, edition of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, the firm on behalf of the family of a 19-year-old young woman obtained a $1.6 million settlement in a wronghful death suit against emergency room personnel and the treating hospital related to the cardiac death of the healthy teenager.
The teenager was rushed by her mother to the defendant hospital emergency room because she awoke with severe, stabbing, chest pain and difficulty breathing following several days of gastrointestinal illness. She was treated in the emergency room for dehydration and gastroenteritis. When she did not improve, she was "admitted" to the pediatric in-patient floor, but she was not physically transferred to the pediatric unit until approximately 10 hours after coming to the hospital. By that time, she was severely hypotensive and in shock, and the pediatric team determined that she needed to get to the ICU "as soon as possible." However, she was not transferred to ICU for another two hours. During that time, no one took any measures to evaluate or treat her worsening cardiac condition.
A cardiologist was not called until after she went into cardiac arrest, 14 hours after she originally arrived at the hospital, and she died. An autopsy confirmed that her death was due to pericarditis, a treatable virus of the heart that the defendants suuspected but did not evaluate or treat. Rather, the defendants exacerbated her condition by giving her copious amounts of fluid that increased the burden on her heart.
The firm retained five experts to confirm the negligence of the hospital and numerous individuals involved in the patient's care and treatment. The case settled just before jury selection.
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