FAILURE TO PERFORM TESTS RESULTS IN WRONGFUL DEATH.
Following an auto accident on June 7, 1995 the deceased was admitted to a hospital under the care of an orthopedic surgeon for traumatic injuries. At the hospital she was also seen in consultation by the trauma service for evaluation of pelvis and abdomen. At the no time there were radiology reports that indicated concern about the integrity of the bowel contents and rectum. Subsequent visits by the trauma service physicians and orthopedic surgeon did not answer the radiology concerns.
The deceased began to exhibit severe abdominal distention and pain. She subsequently developed nausea. Initially a diagnosis of an ileus was reached and she was treated with observation. naso-gastric tube decompression and IV fluids. The NG tube was discontinued a day later and the patient underwent surgery for her initial traumatic injuries. Post operatively she remained with abdominal distention and pain. She was seen over the next several days by the trauma service. Because of continuing abdominal distention and pain a repeat x – ray evaluation was ordered on June 16, 1995.
The results of the x – ray evaluation, which confirmed the ileus, and need for immediate surgical intervention, were never addressed by the trauma team attending or the orthopedic surgeon. Later that day, the deceased sustained cardio – respiratory arrest and died on the morning of June 20, 1995. The Plaintiffs alleged that the trauma team attending and the orthopedic surgeon fell below the standard of care in failing to comprehend the danger of the ileus that was noted, failure to perform adequate follow up testing, failure to monitor the deceased worsening condition and perform surgery which resulted in her death.
Prior to the start of trial the case settled for the amount of One Million Dollars.