Failure to Diagnose/Treat Pneumonia: $1M Settlement
2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Death of 77-year-old man from community acquired pneumonia
In August 2011, the decedent arrived to the Leominster Hospital ER with an elevated temperature and white blood cell count. It was noted that the decedent was likely septic.
The defendant examined the decedent, ordered a chest x-ray, a blood culture, lab work, and a urine culture. Despite the decedent’s elevated WBC of 13.0, which is indicative of infection, the defendant discharged the decedent home. The defendant’s diagnosis at discharge was “acute fever, leukocytosis without known source, and associated shaking.” The defendant did not prescribe any antibiotics.
The following day, the decedent presented to a different hospital with complaints of weakness, rigors, and a fever. A repeat chest-x-ray showed right lower lobe infiltrate. The decedent was admitted and started on broad spectrum antibiotics for pneumonia. However, the following morning the decedent went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed community acquired pneumonia.
The plaintiff’s experts were prepared to testify that individuals with pneumonia require immediate treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics and if left undiagnosed and untreated, pneumonia can lead to cardiovascular collapse, as was the case here.
The case settled for $1,000,000.00 in June 2015.
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