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$________ Medical Malpractice – Pulmonology – Negligently leaving the decedent extubated after discovering an airway obstruction – Cardiopulmonary arrest – Wrongful death of 66-year-old male.

Allegheny County, PA

The decedent in this medical malpractice action was recovering well from a lung transplant when he came under the care of the defendant for ventilator weaning. While in the defendants care he developed an airway obstruction that was not properly or timely treated and he suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest which caused his death. The defendants denied all allegations of negligence.

On April 26, ________, the 64-year-old nuclear engineer underwent a left lung transplant. He was transferred on June 9, ________, to the defendant hospital for ventilator weaning and rehabilitation. At that time he was able to ambulate short distances and was progressing well. On June 30th, his speech therapist noted breathing difficulty with stridor. On July 7th, the tracheotomy tube was removed and it was noted that he became uncomfortable and lethargic.

The defendant then performed a bronchoscopy on July 10th, noting thick secretions and tracheal stenosis revealing an upper airway obstruction. The defendant ordered that the decedent be seen by an ENT. At the end of the bronchoscopy, the defendant left the decedent extubated. Later that evening the decedent was seen by an ENT who was not made aware of the emergent nature of treatment and indicated that he would return the next morning to excise the obstruction.

The next day the decedent suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest. He was revived, but suffered significant injury in the form of encephalopathy, pneumonia and ARDS and died from those complications on November 22, ________. The estate of the decedent alleged that the defendant doctor was negligent in failing to order an emergency ENT consult once she noted the airway obstruction on July 10, ________, failing to secure the decedent’s airway pending the ENT evaluation and failing to obtain a STAT CT-scan to determine the nature and extent of the airway obstruction.

In addition, the estate argued that the defendant hospital was negligent in failing to select and retain competent physicians and medical personnel, and failing to ensure that medical personnel acted promptly and properly in the care of upper airway obstruction. The defendants denied all liability and argued that the decedent was properly treated.The parties settled their dispute for $________.

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