Wrongful Death Due to Negligent Treatment | January 25, 2022
Lawsuit Against Mid-Atlantic Permanente Group
On January 25, 2022, WVFK&N attorneys Keith Forman, Catherine Spalluzzi, and Spencer Yaffe filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a baby who died as a result of medical negligence.
The complaint alleges that on September 21, 2020, the 7-month-old baby presented by telemedicine visit to her physician with a cough and rhinorrhea that had persisted for six days. She was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and her mother was given instructions to follow up if the baby’s symptoms failed to improve. Just over three weeks later, on October 13, 2020, at approximately 2:10 pm, the baby again presented for a telemedicine visit, with another physician. In addition to her persistent cough and rhinorrhea, the baby had new symptoms of a mild fever of 101˚F and diarrhea. The doctor suggested that the baby be brought in for a face-to-face visit at South Baltimore Medical Center, which the mother did. That same day, at approximately 5:10 pm, the baby was seen by another doctor at the face-to-face visit. The baby had a rectal temperature of 99.8˚F on presentation and did not appear to be in respiratory distress. She was discharged with the instruction for her mother to treat her with NSAIDs and acetaminophen and to follow up with the primary care provider if symptoms failed to improve. Three days later, on October 16, 2020, the baby presented to the emergency department, where she had additional complaints of decreased activity, decreased oral intake, decreased wet diapers, and increased fever of 103.7˚F rectally. The mother was controlling the fever with acetaminophen and ibuprofen prior to arrival. Furthermore, a small, bright red, non-blanchable skin rash appeared on the baby’s upper arms and chest wall. The emergency department doctor’s differential diagnosis included: Otitis, UTI, Pyelonephritis, Pneumonia, Bacteremia, Meningitis, Influenza, Strep Pharyngitis, and Kawasaki Disease. A CBC test was performed and returned with a low bicarbonate level of 16 mmol/L, demonstrating a buildup of lactic acid in the blood, a sign of bacteremia and sepsis. A urinalysis was attempted by catheter, but a sample was unable to be collected. Instead of completing a full sepsis workup, and despite these new concerning symptoms and results, the emergency department doctor discharged the baby with a prescription for albuterol and 400 mg/5mL of amoxicillin if her cough worsened. The mother was told to return if symptoms worsened. The following day, on October 17, 2020, the mother and the father noticed the baby was suffering from increased shortness of breath and her lips were blue. Shortly thereafter, the baby went into cardiac and respiratory arrest. EMS was called and immediately began CPR on arrival, and the baby was transported to the Emergency Department at University of Maryland Medical Center. CPR continued in the emergency room, but unfortunately, the baby died, tragically, due to overwhelming and untreated sepsis. The autopsy reported the cause of death as necrotizing bronchopneumonia, caused by overwhelming and untreated sepsis.
The lawsuit alleges that the death was a result of the negligence of Mid-Atlantic Permanente Group and its employees in failing to properly recognize and treat the signs of sepsis.
The action is pending in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland.