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Medical Malpractice – Hospital negligence – Patient who had undergone surgery for subarachnoid hemorrhage deteriorates significantly approximately one day before death and contends defendant hospitalist is negligent in failing to take adequate testing to evaluate risk of pulmonary embolism – Wrongful death.

Collier County, FL

This case involved a 67-year-old patient who had fallen from a bicycle and suffered head injuries, including a subarachnoid hemorrhage. The patient underwent surgery at the defendant hospital and following approximately one week, was transferred to the hospital’s rehabilitation facility. The plaintiff contended that although the patient appeared to be doing well, he deteriorated significantly the day before his death, and that the defendant should have ordered a VQ Scan (lung ventilation/perfusion scan), which the plaintiff maintained would have shown a risk of a pulmonary embolism and prompt the installation of a filter. The plaintiff maintained that as a result of the failure, the patient developed a fatal pulmonary embolism the following day. The defendant denied that it was negligent and denied that the patient exhibited signs and symptoms that should have compelled a VQ scan the day before death. The defendant contended that at no time did the evidence signs of a DVT or pulmonary embolism and that the plaintiff did not die of one and the autopsy supported the defendant’s claims.

The plaintiff contended that the overall deterioration of the patient should have compelled the defendant hospital’s physician s to order a VQ scan the day before patient died. The defendant pointed out that there was no plaintiff expert testimony as what the VQ scan would have shown if it had been performed. The defendant’s experts testified a VQ scan taken day before death would have been negative for any indication of a pulmonary embolism. The defendant maintained that the conclusions of the autopsy report that the patient died from a deteriorating condition of the head injury should be accepted.

The decedent left a wife and two adult children who were over 25 and who were not dependent on the decedent.The jury found that the defendant was not negligent.

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