Case #1057: Pneumonia
On March 15, the Plaintiff’s Decedent, age 47 with a history of asthma, presented to the Defendant Hospital’s emergency department with chest complaints including tachycardia as well as wheezing. A chest x-ray demonstrated bilateral upper lower nodules and infiltrates which required further evaluation. In fact, the radiologist made the diagnosis and suggested CT scans for further evaluation. Tragically, no CT scan was ordered, no further tests or studies were performed, and the Plaintiff’s Decedent was simply discharged to her home.
Two days thereafter, the Decedent arrived back at the Defendant Hospital’s emergency room via ambulance after being found unconscious at home. She underwent resuscitation for approximately one hour. A chest x-ray revealed increased bilateral infiltrates. The Decedent was admitted to the Defendant Hospital where she followed an increasing downward spiral and died on March 18, at approximately 2:25 p.m. An autopsy confirmed that the Plaintiff’s Decedent died at age 47 as the result of bronchospasm with an early pneumonia.
The Plaintiffs alleged that on March 15, the Decedent was essentially diagnosed with pneumonia. A CT scan was requested to further delineate the diagnosis which was negligently not performed. Had the Defendant conformed with the standards of care, appropriate studies would have confirmed the diagnosis of pneumonia, and the Decedent would have been admitted to the Defendant Hospital for intravenous antibiotic therapy and other support, and she would have been in a monitored hospital setting when she suffered bronchospasm leading to fatal dysrhymthia. However, as the result of the Defendant’s negligence, the Decedent was simply discharged to her home. As a result, she suffered cardiorespiratory failure alone at home and died, leaving a son and mother.
The Defendant denied all allegations of negligence, causation and harm.