A 66-year-old man and his wife have filed suit against a Missouri hospital and two physicians claiming that they failed to provide emergency treatment to prevent the spread of flesh-eating bacteria.
Plaintiff was seen in the hospital emergency room with complaints of perirectal abscess and cellulitis. He was given a painkiller and oral and intravenous antibiotics and discharged an hour and a half later. He was told to follow up with the doctor’s office the next day. When he tried to get an appointment for the following day, the office would not agree to an appointment until four days later.
Plaintiff’s expert has testified that one of the physicians made “egregious errors” by failing to immediately order lab tests and radiology procedures that would have determined the severity and extent of the Plaintiff’s infection. He further claims that a surgical procedure should have been performed within 24 hours, that Plaintiff needed immediate attention.
What do the Plaintiff and his wife claim is the reason for the negligence? Money. Plaintiff claims that he was denied timely emergency treatment because he was uninsured. While the Plaintiffs have no evidence to prove this accusation, a hospital document from the ER visit indicated that the Plaintiff was unemployed and had no primary insurance, and his status was listed as “bad debt.”
In a deposition, the physicians claimed that “At that time, that day, that hour, he did not require surgery, but he was advised that this could potentially turn into a surgical problem.” Plaintiff’s wife disagrees. She has testified that when the surgeon examined her husband, he pointed to a patch of black skin on the back of his leg and said that it needed to be dealt with by a surgeon. Defendant denies this assertion and has said that there was no necrotic skin anywhere on the patient when he was seen in the ER.
Medical records show that four operations were performed, including removal of dead and damaged tissue, a colostomy, and skin graft were needed to contain the infection and repair its devastating consequences – and totaling nearly $400,000 in medical bills.
The nonprofit health system denies that a patient’s insurance coverage or ability to pay affects the care provided. But, if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck… it probably is what you think it is.
Missouri Hospital Malpractice Verdicts and Settlements
FACTS / INJURY SUMMARY
2019 – Missouri
A 3-year-old girl suffered an E. coli infection. Over four days, she visited a St. Louis hospital’s emergency room three times. The hospital staff discharged her after the first two visits. They finally admitted her on the third visit. Two days into the girl’s hospitalization, she suffered seizures and a stroke. It was later revealed that she developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. Because of this, the girl suffered permanent kidney damage. She now required lifelong dialysis. Her family alleged that the hospital staff’s failure to timely diagnose an E. coli infection caused her permanent injuries. The hospital admitted that the girl had an E. coli infection during her ER visits. However, they disputed whether its staff acted negligently. The St. Louis jury awarded the family $18,254,033.
$18,254,033 – Verdict
2018 – Missouri
A man underwent a prostate resection at a Sikeston hospital. The procedure involved a bladder neck incision and a Foley catheter placement. After the surgery, he suffered multi-organ failure. The man was brought to another hospital. Its staff discovered that the catheter was placed outside the bladder. The man died from his injuries. His family alleged that the hospital staff’s negligence caused his death. They claimed they performed an unnecessary bladder neck incision, perforated the bladder, and wrongly placed the catheter. The hospital denied liability, arguing that the man’s comorbidities caused his death. A Scott County jury awarded $869,781.
$869,781 – Verdict
2018 – Missouri
A 24-year-old pregnant woman was admitted to a St. Louis-area hospital. She was suffering from abdominal cramps, nausea, and right flank pain. The woman underwent an ultrasound. It revealed kidney stones. Her vital signs also showed an elevated temperature and heart rate. A nurse informed a physician of the woman’s vitals. However, the physician did not examine her. The woman was subsequently discharged. The following day, she presented to another hospital. Its staff treated the woman for sepsis. She then underwent a urethral stent placement. During the procedure, the woman suffered a spontaneous abortion. She alleged that the initial hospital’s negligence caused her baby’s death. She claimed its staff prematurely discharged her, failed to timely diagnose and treat a urinary tract infection, and failed to timely address her vitals. A St. Louis County jury awarded $1,358,712.
$1,358,712 – Verdict
2017 – Missouri
A man presented to an emergency room. He was suffering from significant abdominal pain. He came under a D.O.’s care. The man underwent a CT scan. It revealed hepatic gas. The radiologist recommended an ultrasound. The D.O. then consulted another physician, who recommended an outpatient ultrasound. As a result, the man was discharged without undergoing an ultrasound. Several days later, he returned with continuing pain. The man was diagnosed with mesenteric ischemia. He developed short bowel syndrome. The man required IV fluids, parenteral nutrition, and medications. He also underwent an end jejunostomy, a superior mesenteric artery bypass graft, and a mesenteric thrombectomy. Following the procedures, the man developed sepsis, kidney failure, and a non-healing abdominal wound. He alleged that the hospital staff’s negligence caused these permanent injuries. The man claimed they failed to timely perform an ultrasound, failed to timely perform additional imaging, and prematurely discharged him. The hospital denied liability, arguing comparative negligence. A Franklin County jury found the hospital and D.O. 65 percent negligent, the consulted physician 25 percent negligent, and the man 10 percent negligent. They awarded a $14,245,545 verdict.
$14,245,545 – Verdict
2017 – Missouri
A woman suffered severe back pain. The hospital admitted her. Its staff treated the woman’s back pain. They then placed an antecubital IV on her left arm. The following day, the hospital staff observed bleeding around the IV site. The woman’s daughter requested that they change the site and replace the IV. A nurse ignored the request. She partially pulled the IV out, moved it around, and pushed it back in. The woman was subsequently discharged. She returned the following day. The woman was diagnosed with encephalopathy, sepsis, respiratory failure, and kidney failure. She also developed an antecubital fossa thrombosis and MRSA. The woman died from her injuries. Her family alleged that the hospital staff’s negligence caused her death. They claimed they failed to replace the IV and its location, timely diagnose a thrombus, and recognize the issues with the IV. The hospital denied liability. A Buchanan County jury awarded $7,564,660.
$7,564,660 – Verdict