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ARTICLE ID 193805

$________ Medical Malpractice – Attending physicians prematurely discharge elderly decedent with shortness of breath who was actually suffering from pneumonia – Failure to appreciate the signs and symptoms of pneumonia – Wrongful death of 82 year-old decedent.

Allegheny County, PA

In this medical malpractice action, the plaintiff maintained that the defendant doctors negligently discharged the plaintiff’s decedent from the hospital to a nursing home when the decedent was exhibiting signs and symptoms that she was suffering from pneumonia. The defendants denied that they were negligent, and maintained that the decedent was properly cleared before discharge.

On October 11, ________, the 82 year-old decedent underwent a successful operation for rectal prolapse performed by a nonparty doctor. Following the procedure, on October 17, the decedent was transferred to the defendant nursing home. At the nursing home, the decedent came under the care of the defendant, Komer. This defendant noted the decedent was suffering from shortness of breath, and ordered nebulizer treatments for the decedent. After several treatments, the decedent’s saturation levels were still low, and the defendant ordered the decedent transferred back to the hospital. This transfer back to the hospital was only four hours after the decedent was admitted to the nursing home. In the emergency room, the decedent was treated for a UTI and possible pneumonia, and was started on IV antibiotics. She then came under the care of the defendant, Gagianas, while both Komer and Gagainas were the decedent’s attending physicians at this time. A chest x-ray taken on October 18 was suggestive of pneumonia. On October 20, the defendant doctors decided that the decedent’s symptoms were not clinically impressive, removed her from the IV antibiotics, placed her an oral antibiotics, and inexplicably discharged the decedent back to the nursing home.

On October 21, the decedent’s condition worsened, and she was transferred back to the hospital for dyspnea and hypoxia. A chest x-ray revealed bilateral lung infiltrates, and the decedent was diagnosed with pneumonia. The decedent was transferred to the ICU and later diagnosed with ARDS. Her condition continued to deteriorate, and she died on October 25, and she is survived by six adult children.

The estate of the decedent supported that the defendants were negligent in prematurely discharging the decedent from the hospital, failing to appreciate the signs and symptoms of pneumonia, prematurely discontinuing the decedent’s IV antibiotics, and failing to properly monitor the decedent’s pulmonary condition during her hospitalization. The estate alleged that these acts caused the wrongful death of the decedent at age 82. The defendants denied all allegations of negligence, and argued that the medical tests administers on October 19 did not show definitive signs of pneumonia, including that the decedent did not have a fever, and her shortness of breath had improved.The defendant medical practice as employer of defendant, Gagianas, settled with the plaintiff for $________.

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