Grieving Husband Sues St. Mary’s Health Care System
A grieving husband has filed a lawsuit against St. Mary’s Health Care System after his wife lost her life after a thyroidectomy went wrong. The lawsuit alleges that the attending doctor failed to remove sutures on the victim’s neck to decompress a hematoma resulting in a lack of oxygen to the brain, severe brain damage, and ultimately, death. She was only 38 years old and otherwise healthy.
The plaintiff is the husband of a 38-year-old woman who died after a thyroidectomy. The thyroid had to be surgically removed after a papillary thyroid carcinoma was discovered. The day after, the plaintiff reported swelling on her neck. The swelling eventually made it difficult for her to breathe. A nurse called another doctor (who we’ll call Dr. B) who was on-call. This doctor suspected that a blood clot was placing pressure on the victim’s windpipe. The doctor ordered the sutures removed while en route to the hospital.
Before that doctor arrived at the hospital, another doctor, who we’ll call Dr. C, intervened. This doctor did not remove the sutures and instead attempted to intubate the victim.
According to the nurse who had phoned Dr. B, she never relayed Dr. B’s orders to remove the sutures. When Dr. B finally arrived at the hospital, he immediately ordered the patient’s sutures removed and restored her airway with an emergency tracheotomy. Way too late. She suffered anoxic brain damage (brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain) and died.
A Failure to Communicate
Computer engineers have a wonderful term for this called a Byzantine failure. It is a failure of a computer system to fix or trap an error based on improper communication from one process to another. In this case, the nurse failed to communicate Dr. B’s orders to Dr. C. This resulted in the wrong strategy being employed and the patient dying.
Of course, we’re only considering the plaintiff’s arguments in this case. The defendants could argue that by the time the information was relayed to Dr. B, the patient already had suffered a traumatic brain injury due to stroke. In that case, the failure to correctly communicate the information to Dr. C would not have caused the patient’s brain death. The plaintiffs will also need to determine why the intubation didn’t work. Placing the patient on a respirator should have theoretically opened up the passage and allowed her to continue breathing. So why didn’t it?
The plaintiffs will also need to reasonably establish that had Dr. C did what Dr. B said he should do, the patient would still be alive today.
Talk to a St. Petersburg Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you’ve been injured due to the negligent actions of a medical doctor or hospital staff, call the St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorneys at Masterson, Hoag & Smith today to learn more about how we can help you hold them accountable.