A lawsuit filed against MetroSouth Medical Center and five doctors has been successfully settled for $4.29 million. The suit was filed on behalf of the family of a woman who died as a result of medical malpractice in 2010. The woman died as a result of the failure of doctors to recognize and treat a pericardial effusion, which led to a cardiac tamponade, causing her death. The case was set to go to trial on October 21, 2015, however it was settled instead. John Perconti and Jordan S. Powell of Levin & Perconti represented the family.
The patient in this case died after the doctors and medical professionals failed to perform the proper tests and provide the treatment necessary. The woman went to the emergency room at MetroSouth Medical Center on the morning of February 28, 2010 complaining of chest pain. It was determined that she had low blood pressure and a CT scan was done, which showed that she suffered with what was considered a mild pericardial effusion. This condition occurs when fluid fills between the heart muscle and outer layer of the heart. The woman was sent to ICU and an echocardiogram was ordered to be done in the morning to rule out the possibility of cardiac tamponade.
Cardiac tamponade is a compression on the heart muscle, which greatly restricts the ability to function properly. Cardiac tamponade occurs when fluid builds up around the heart and accumulates to a point where it actually prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to maintain function. In this case, the woman indeed suffered from cardiac tamponade, however, it was not determined until it was too late. The medical staff did not perform the test and her deteriorating condition was not properly monitored.
Monitoring in the Hospital
Hospital patients require varying degrees of support and monitoring. When a patient is newly admitted and is in the intensive care unit, the medical staff must closely monitor the condition and take action when changes occur. In this situation, the woman’s condition worsened through the overnight hours. There was an increase in her heart rate, she suffered from mental confusion, and her blood pressure remained extremely low. At some points, the nurse was not able to obtain a blood pressure reading despite the fact that the patient had already received several medications to increase blood pressure.
Negligence by Medical Professionals
Doctors and other medical professionals are required to provide the proper level of treatment and care. Failure to provide treatment may be a negligent act. In this case, the doctors issued the order for a test; however, it was not performed. Lack of communication between doctors and medical staff resulted in failure to perform the test. When the woman’s condition declined the doctor immediately ordered an echocardiogram, however, it was not communicated to the on-call staff. By morning, the woman went into cardiac arrest and died. The echocardiogram was finally performed, although it was too late. Had the test been conducted immediately the results would have shown that the woman was suffering from a pericardial effusion.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
This case in particular demonstrates the importance of proper communication between staff, especially at night. Throughout the treatment of this patient the medical staff made many errors and there was a breakdown in communication. Although there were many opportunities for someone to catch the mistake it was not done. In this situation, the patient died after the negligent actions of the hospital and staff. The legal team at Levin & Perconti is known for their excellence in providing clients with representation in cases of medical malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death lawsuits. Contact Levin & Perconti for a free consultation today.