Sommers Schwartz attorneys Richard Groffsky negotiated a confidential $1.375 million settlement for the estate of a woman who died from cardiopulmonary arrest while seeking treatment for complications associated with sickle cell crisis.
According to the wrongful death lawsuit, the decedent was admitted to the defendant hospita complaining of shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, tachypnea, back pain, chest tightness, and centrally located chest pain that she rated a nine out of ten. The patient had a history of sickle cell disease, and was experiencing acute chest syndrome (ACS), and pneumonia at admission. She experienced difficulty inhaling deeply and breath sounds were diminished in the lower lobes of her lungs. Chest x-rays revealed bibasilar atelecstasis.
Given her presentation and history, the plaintiff claimed that the standard of care required the defendant physicians to administer antibiotics, prophylactic Heparin, fluid, and oxygen when she was admitted. Instead, no consultations were done, and she only received primarily IV fluids for hydration and analgesics for pain management for the duration of her hospitalization.
Over the course of the next five days, there was a series of miscommunications and treatment delays by the defendants – which included a nurse practitioner and internal medicine, hematology, and general surgery physicians. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants failed to provide the most critical and likely life-saving treatment to her – an exchange blood transfusion.
Four days into her hospitalization, the patient’s liver failed, and she became unresponsive. A code was called. She was intubated after three attempts, transferred to ICU, and started on Heparin infusion. The patient never fully recovered from the cardiac arrest, and declined into multi-organ failure throughout the day. That night, she crashed again, but was declared dead a few hours after a second code was called.