Case #4016 Failure to Timely Diagnose and Treat Infection That Lead to Wrongful Death
The Decedent, a 33-year old woman, presented to the hospital for the delivery of her first child. She underwent a cesarean section that resulted in the birth of a healthy baby boy. Three days after delivery, the decedent experienced a fever, tachycardia, tachypnea, diminished oxygen saturation and she also complained of heart palpitations. A chest x-ray revealed cardiomegaly. Despite these findings, the Decedent was not placed on antibiotics, and no infectious disease consultation was requested. The decedent was seen the next day by two physicians who were aware of her history. Despite their knowledge, they failed to keep the Decedent hospitalized, start antibiotics or request an infectious disease consultation. The Decedent was discharged and was examined by a visiting nurse the next day who referred the patient back to her attending obstetrician due to a disparity in the number of gauze that had been placed. The Decedent was seen by her obstetrician who was aware of her history but failed to admit her to the hospital or start antibiotics. The following day, the decedent was examined by a visiting nurse who noted that the patient complained of dizziness when she woke up that morning. She also measured her oxygen saturation as 90% when breathing normally and 95% when taking a deep breath. She claims that she reported this to a nurse in the attending obstetrician’s office. The nurse in that office who spoke to the visiting nurse denied that the oxygen saturation was communicated to her. Both nurses agreed that a physician needed to be aware of this finding. Had this information been relayed to a physician, the patient would have been immediately examined by a physician and received treatment which would have included antibiotics and she would have survived. No treatment was rendered and, tragically, the Decedent died two days later. The cause of death was a group B strep infection that began in the uterus and spread to the heart and brain. The case was settled prior to trial for $2,000,000.
The Plaintiff alleged a negligent failure to timely diagnose and treat infection, leading to the death of a 33-year old woman.