Jury Awards $1.25 Million For Failure to Test Dialysis Patient for Excessive Potassium

Article posted on:07/10/2008

A $1.25 million jury award was handed down in a Tennessee medical malpractice / medical negligence / medical error case involving the failure of several health care providers to check a 34 year old dialysis patient's potassium levels prior to discharge from an emergency room. The patient suffered from end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis. A day after he missed a dialysis session due to a hospital emergency room visit, the patient's mother called the patient's treating nephrologist and inquired whether it would be necessary to make up the missed session and whether the patient need to have his potassium level checked. The nephrologist told the patient's mother that the patient could wait until the next day. He died that evening following a heart stoppage resulting from hyperkalemia - excessive potassium in the blood. The patient's mother sued the nephrologist, an emergency room physician, the hospital, a nurse and unknown hospital employee, alleging they failed to communicate with with each other negligently allowed the patient to leave the hospital without checking his potassium level after the missed dialysis session. In fact, it was discovered that a proper blood test had been ordered in the emergency room, but that an unknown hospital employee had cancelled it.

At STSW, our lawyers routinely handle cases in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas involving a failure to properly monitor patients, including instances in which extremely high or critical lab values are not properly identified and/or treated.  Past cases have involved hospitals including but not limited to:  Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Medical System, St. Agnes Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, Harbor Hospital, Sinai Hospital, Bon Secours Hospital, Anne Arundel County Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Washington Medical Center, Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Frederick Memorial Hospital and Shady Grove Hospital.  Unlike many firms in the area, our lawyers team with in-house nurses who are trained to review the hundreds of pages of medical records, including nursing notes, that painstakingly document subtle changes in a patient's condition, changes which must be found and documented if one is to be successful in this type of litigation.  In addition to our nurses' review of the relevant medical records, our office has a network of health care providers who stand ready to review our clients' records to ascertain whether they have been the victim of medical negligence / medical malpractice.  In Maryland, in order to move forward with a potential medical negligence case, the victimized patient must secure the support of heath care providers /experts in the same field as the potential defendant; i.e., that health care provider must be willing to testify that the defendant violated the applicable standards of care in treating the patient such that an injury occurred. 

If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of a health care providers negligence or medical mistake / medical malpractice in failing to properly monitor your condition as an inpatient or outpatient, call our lawyers for a free consultation at 410-385-2225 or visit our website to set up a free consultation.