The Plaintiff, age 20, presented to the Defendant Hospital with complaints of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Laboratory studies revealed a white blood count of 13,300 with a left shift, as well as elevated amylase and lipase levels with a normal liver function study. The Plaintiff was admitted under the care of the Defendant attending surgeon. A CT scan reported a normal pancreas with a large amount of stool in the colon. Subsequently, another CT scan of the abdomen raised the possibility of a partial volvulus, or closed loop obstruction of the bowel. Tragically, the Defendants negligently ignored findings on the CT scans, laboratory studies and physical examination of the Plaintiff, failed to intervene surgically, and simply advised that a gastroenterology consultation be obtained.
The Plaintiff became unstable, hypotensive, tachycardic, with increased respiratory rate, shallow respirations, on IV narcotics impairing her ability to breath and decreased oxygen rate. Subsequently, the Plaintiff suffered a cardiac arrest. After resuscitation, the Plaintiff finally underwent surgery at which time, the physicians found a small bowel obstruction. Tragically, their surgery and intervention proved too little and too late. The Plaintiff had suffered massive and irreversible hypoxic brain injury. Postoperatively, the Plaintiff could not perform any purposeful or spontaneous actions. She had a tracheostomy placed and was ultimately weaned from the ventilator. Neurological testing confirmed diffuse, global hypoxic injury.
The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants negligently failed to operate in a timely manner, thus causing hypoxic brain damage.