By Joe Messa
A New York hospital has changed its procedures for discharging a patient after failing to properly treat a 12-year-old boy who was seen in their emergency room in April and died three days later. Rory Staunton was sent to NYU Langone Medical Center by his pediatrician to receive fluids for dehydration. Hospital staff ran lab tests on the child, but did not advise his pediatrician or his parents of the results which indicated that his blood had extraordinarily high levels of cells associated with bacterial infections. Instead, they diagnosed him with a typical stomach bug and sent home from the hospital with a fever and a rapid heart rate.
A few days later, Rory cut his arm while playing basketball at school. The cut likely allowed bacteria to get into his blood and caused him to go into septic shock. His organs failed and he died as a result of the shock.
The hospital that failed to diagnose and treat the boy’s sepsis infection has announced that it has made significant changes to its patient discharge process following the child’s death. According to the hospital, emergency physicians and nurses will now be notified of lab results suggestive of serious infection immediately. The hospital has also developed a checklist to ensure that a doctor and a nurse have conducted a final review of all critical lab results and patient vital signs prior to a patient being discharged. In addition, the hospital will follow up with the referring physician and the patient about any clinically relevant test results should results be unavailable until after the patient is discharged.
Sepsis is a condition where the body is fighting a severe infection that has spread via the bloodstream. Patients who become “septic” will likely experience low blood pressure leading to poor circulation and lack of perfusion of vital tissues and organs, otherwise referred to as septic shock. Sepsis is caused by many different microbes, commonly bacteria. However, viruses and fungi can also cause sepsis. In addition to infections that develop after surgery, infections in the lungs, bladder, kidneys, skin, abdomen and in other areas of the body can also spread and cause sepsis. Sepsis requires emergency medical treatment. Failure to treat will result in death.
The Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling cases involving medical malpractice cases resulting from failure to treat hospital infections. Our extremely skilled team of medical malpractice attorneys and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries as a result of failure to treat a hospital infection, medical error or any other type of negligent care received by a medical provider, contact the medical malpractice attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More