MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Patient Olga Sanchez died at Palmetto General Hospital on May 4, 2011, her 50th birthday, after doctors at the hospital cleared her for kidney stone surgery despite a well-known but very rare bleeding disorder. (Case #: 13-00967 CA 24)
According to court documents, Olga Sanchez had been admitted to the hospital after complaints of flank pain and urinating blood. During her admission, she was examined by a hematologist and her lab tests were interpreted by a clinical pathologist. Despite a laboratory diagnosis of a bleeding disorder, the doctors and the hospital never provided appropriate care to stop the internal bleeding.
Ms. Sanchez had a rare but well-known bleeding disorder known as acquired Factor VIII inhibitor. Blood tests at the hospital, performed as part of the pre-operative workup, showed the probable Factor VIII inhibitor, an urgent, life threatening condition. Additional testing was sent out, but it was sent to an out-of-state lab in North Carolina. It took almost a full week for the results to come back. Meanwhile, despite the initial laboratory data, and while the blood tests were pending in North Carolina, Ms. Sanchez was cleared for surgery and underwent the procedures.
Her bleeding condition worsened after the procedure and her condition rapidly deteriorated.
After almost two weeks in the hospital, Sanchez showed evidence of hypoxia and was intubated due to respiratory failure. It was at this point that the hematologist finally received the results from the outside North Carolina laboratory, finally noted Factor VIII inhibitor, and days later decided to contact other outside physicians for assistance. Olga’s health had continued to deteriorate. She developed multisystem organ failure and ultimately passed away.
The plaintiff, the husband of the deceased, filed suit against Palmetto General Hospital, because the Hospital and doctors violated three patient safety rules: 1) A hospital must have a system in place for diagnosing and treating life threatening conditions; 2) When a hospital runs tests on a patient it must do so in a timely and accurate manner; 3) Doctors and Hospitals must use urgency to diagnose and treat the patient’s life threatening condition. The plaintiff contended throughout trial that these patient safety rules are necessary to prevent harm and death to everyone who is ever a patient of a hospital or a doctor.
The jury found Palmetto General Hospital negligent for its systems defects and further found it legally responsible for the negligence of its physicians. The jury awarded $2 million as compensation to the Estate of Olga Sanchez.
Through dedicated work, Stuart N. Ratzan and Stuart J. Weissman, Florida medical malpractice trial attorneys, prevailed in this important case.
Ratzan Law Group, PA is a boutique firm that focuses its practice on medical malpractice, product liability and commercial trials. For additional information, call (305) 374-6366 or log on to www.ratzanlawgroup.com. Connect via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.