Diabetes Mellitus Malpractice Claim Settles for $1 Million
2010 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Nine year old boy dies from diabetes mellitus day after call to pediatrician’s office
The plaintiff’s decedent was a nine year old boy who died on 1/19/03 from diabetes mellitus.The day before, his father called the pediatrician’s office and reported to the defendant nurse practitioner that the boy was lethargic, disoriented, and had been ill for the last three days with vomiting for two days.The boy did not have a fever, rash, or diarrhea.He was drinking ginger ale and urinating.The defendant diagnosed the boy over the phone with a viral infection. She offered a visit to the ER but did not insist that the boy be seen in the ER for further evaluation. The plan was to have the boy checked the next day if he had not improved.
On 1/19/03 at 4:00 a.m. the boy’s father checked in on his son in bed, and noted his respiratory rate was increased.On 1/19/03 at 8:28 a.m., the father found the boy in bed not breathing and called 911.EMS arrived on the scene at 8:32 a.m. and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was in progress by the Fire Department. The boy was apneic and pulseless, his pupils were fixed, unreactive, and glassed over. He was ashen/cyanotic, non-diaphoretic, and his torso was cool to touch. The boy had rigor in his jaw thus preventing oral intubation. Upon arrival to the hospital, the boy’s eyes were open, his pupils were fixed and dilated, and his corneas were cloudy.He did not have any spontaneous respiratory or cardiac movement.Resuscitation efforts continued without success, and the boy was pronounced at 9:20 a.m.His laboratory work-up revealed a blood glucose of 1165 (normal 50-80) and potassium level of 7.1 (normal 3.5 to 5.3)
The plaintiff claimed the defendant was negligent when she failed to identify lethargy and disorientation as symptoms of a potentially life-threatening emergency and when she failed to instruct the boy’s parents to take him immediately to the emergency room for evaluation and treatment.
The defendant contended that her care and treatment complied with the applicable standard of care, and that nothing she did or failed to do caused or substantially contributed to the boy’s death. The information she received was of a child that was getting better, who hadn’t vomited that day, who was awake at the time of the call, who could be heard speaking in the background, and who was urinating and taking fluids. She further contended that the boy’s father failed to communicate changes in the boy’s condition following the telephone call.
The case settled a few weeks before trial for $1,000,000.
Lubin & Meyer attorneys represented the plaintiff in this lawsuit.
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