Case #4030 Medical Negligence Resulting in Death
On December 7, the Plaintiff’s Decedent entered the Defendant Hospital for a kidney transplant. The kidney to be transplanted was harvested from her husband and the transplant was completed successfully. During recuperation, the Plaintiff’s Decedent began to develop signs of early rejection. Accordingly, the medical staff determined to implement Thymoglobulin, an anti‑rejection medication. Utilization of the medication was appropriate under proper circumstances and infusion began during the evening hours of December 12, when the Plaintiff’s Decedent was in a completely stable condition.
Within seconds of receiving the infusion of Thymoglobulin, the Plaintiff’s Decedent began suffering with shortness of breath. The Plaintiff alleged that this indicated an obvious anaphylactic reaction to the drug. The Plaintiff asserted that when the drug is utilized, those infusing the medication must be aware of the possible adverse reaction which can ensue, and must be appropriately trained to recognize its signs and symptoms and must intervene with Epinephrine and/or other care. The Plaintiff alleged that, tragically, duly authorized agents and/or employees of the Defendant Hospital negligently failed to utilize Epinephrine in a timely fashion and negligently failed to intubate in a timely fashion, thereby permitting the anaphylactic reaction to progress.
As a result, the Plaintiff’s Decedent was permitted to continue with the anaphylactic reaction, ultimately culminating in respiratory decompensation, seizures, and complete cardiorespiratory arrest. At that time, a code was finally called after which the Plaintiff’s Decedent was resuscitated. However, by that time, the Plaintiff’s Decedent had suffered with an extreme loss of oxygen such that irreversible, anoxic brain injury resulted.
The Defendant contended that the Plaintiff’s Decedent did not manifest signs of obvious anaphylaxis as there was no rash, no wheezing and a stable blood pressure. Moreover, hospital personnel immediately responded with supportive oxygen therapy and closely monitored the patient, who suffered a sudden and unexpected cardiorespiratory collapse, at which time a Code Blue was called.
The Plaintiff’s Decedent suffered severe brain injury, requiring her to remain at the Defendant Hospital until May of the following year, after which she was transferred to a nursing home at the age of 34. She remained confined until June 3, when she died leaving a husband and teenage daughter.