Facts and Claim of Liability:
At around 10:00 a.m. on December 23, 2006, plaintiff mother and plaintiff father took plaintiff, who had had a seizure earlier that morning, to Defendant Hospital Maimonides Medical Center. Hospital staff noted that plaintiff was lethargic (which is not unusual after a seizure), and that he had a slightly low potassium level, for which he was given Potassium 40 mEq. Hospital staff also noted hearing “rhonchi” (a coarse, rattling sound somewhat like snoring) when plaintiff breathed, and plaintiff was given Albuterol via nebulizer. At around 3:00 p.m., defendant doctor decided that plaintiff’s condition was satisfactory, and told plaintiff that he could go home.
However, shortly before leaving the hospital, plaintiff father noticed that plaintiff appeared to have problems breathing. Defendant doctor assured plaintiff father that this was only temporary, and plaintiff and his parents went home. By 7:00 p.m., however, plaintiff was still having problems. Plaintiff father called for an ambulance, and plaintiff was transported back to defendant hospital via ambulance.
Plaintiff was admitted and examined. Plaintiff mother and plaintiff father recall that one of the nurses who came into plaintiff’s room and examined him appeared very concerned about his condition. She called for a doctor, and shortly thereafter two doctors came in and examined plaintiff. The doctors then rushed plaintiff away to the resuscitation room. Plaintiff mother and plaintiff father waited in the waiting room outside. Some time later, a doctor came out of the resuscitation room and informed them that plaintiff’s heart rate had slowed. According to father, not long after, someone from the hospital staff came out and told them that they had lost plaintiff.
Ultimately, it was determined that plaintiff had died due to Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), complicated by bronchopneumonia.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Kings County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital staff, defendant doctor, and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of plaintiff in failing to reassess plaintiff’s respiratory status, failing to diagnose and appreciate the severity of plaintiff’s pulmonary edema, failing to timely treat plaintiff’s pulmonary edema, and administering intravenous fluids when plaintiff showed signs of pulmonary edema, all of which resulted in the death of plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant hospital for a total of $300,000.00. The cases against defendant hospital staff and defendant doctor were discontinued.