Case #1012: Pneumonia
In December, it is alleged that these Defendants diagnosed the Plaintiffs’ Decedent with pneumonia. This condition continued into the following January, and she was hospitalized. Over the next several months, it is alleged that the Plaintiffs’ Decedent saw the Defendants, and was diagnosed variously with bronchitis and a “resolving pneumonia.”
On September 20, the Plaintiffs’ Decedent telephoned these Defendants complaining that she was ill. She indicated that she was taking an antibiotic, Cipro, hoping that it would help her condition. In response, these Defendants advised her to take an antibiotic known as Biaxin for her condition. Neither of the Defendants saw, examined or diagnosed the Decedent’s condition, in violation of the standards of care.
Two days thereafter, on September 22, the Plaintiffs’ Decedent did go to the Defendants’ office and advised the Defendant health care provider that she was feeling very ill. She reported that she felt much worse than on September 20, and that the medication was not of any benefit. Additionally, she complained of a harsh cough and pain in her throat.
At that visit, the Defendant health care provider performed a cursory examination and diagnosed her with tracheobronchitis with the possibility of a “tad” of pneumonia. He additionally noted that she had wet rales at the base of her left lung, and knew that she had pain in the left side of her chest.
It is alleged that the Defendants were required to perform necessary tests and studies, especially with a patient who had lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus). It is asserted that chest x-rays and lab studies were necessary to make a definitive diagnosis, which would have resulted in immediate hospitalization, as well as appropriate antibiotic drug and supportive therapy. It is alleged that the Plaintiffs’ Decedent was suffering with pneumonia at that time, which was totally misdiagnosed by the Defendant health care provider. Amazingly, when the Plaintiffs’ Decedent asked whether she should go for a chest x-ray because she was feeling much worse, the Defendant assured the Plaintiffs’ Decedent that her condition did not warrant a chest x-ray or any further medical intervention. It is asserted that based on her lupus alone, her immune system was compromised and she was required diagnostic tests and studies as well as hospitalization and medical intervention. However, the Defendant health care provider failed to do so and simply sent the Plaintiffs’ Decedent home with assurances that she only suffered with some form of bronchitis. He advised her to continue with the same antibiotic, which he stated would resolve her problem. Relying on the advice of her physicians, the Plaintiffs’ Decedent returned to her home and her family.
The following evening on September 23, it is alleged that the Plaintiffs’ Decedent collapsed and was taken to the hospital at which time she was admitted and finally had chest x rays. The x-rays revealed bilateral infiltrates — pneumonia — which had been permitted to progress due to these Defendants’ ongoing negligence. Upon admission her blood studies were seriously abnormal, her condition worsened, and she was intubated.
After admission to the Intensive Care Unit, the Plaintiff received treatment in an effort to combat the pneumonia. However, because these Defendants had permitted the condition to worsen so significantly, medical management failed to reverse her condition. It was simply too little — too late. It is asserted that as a direct and proximate result of the ongoing negligence of these Defendants, the Plaintiffs’ Decedent died a tragic and untimely death on September 25, at 12:01 a.m., at the age of 32.
Had these Defendants and each of them conformed with the applicable standards of care, appropriate tests and studies would have been performed; the Plaintiffs’ Decedent would have been diagnosed in a timely fashion; would have received appropriate medical and/or other intervention; and would have returned home to her husband and child to resume her activities. However, as a direct and proximate result of the ongoing negligence of these Defendants and each of them, the Plaintiffs’ Decedent suffered unending physical pain, emotional anguish, fear and anxiety, ultimately culminating in her tragic and untimely death.