On January 5, 2015, plaintiff, then 41 years old, presented to the emergency department at Coney Island Hospital with complaints of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain for several days. Plaintiff was also noted to have an elevated pulse and an elevated respiratory rate. Lab work was ordered, including a comprehensive metabolic panel and complete blood count with a manual differential. After receiving IV fluids, plaintiff was discharged with a diagnosis of unspecified noninfectious gastroenteritis and colitis, notwithstanding the fact that his complaints, abnormal vital signs were consistent with sepsis. Additionally, the results of plaintiff’s manual differential were not available at the time of discharge. When they became available shortly after his discharge and indicated the presence of an infection, plaintiff was not contacted and advised to return to the emergency department.
On January 8, 2015, plaintiff was taken by ambulance to a local community hospital with altered mental status after his wife found him collapsed in the bathroom. He continued to have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and an elevated white blood count and he also presented with fever. An echocardiogram showed vegetation on the mitral valve. Blood cultures were done and he was diagnosed with endocarditis and sepsis. He was then transferred to another hospital for treatment where plaintiff was diagnosed with sepsis, endocarditis, methicillin susceptible staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), septic olecranon bursitis, atrial fibrillation, acute respiratory failure, acute cerebrovascular accident, mitral regurgitation, mycotic aneurysm due to bacterial endocarditis and intracerebral hemorrhage. On January 9, 2015, plaintiff underwent irrigation and debridement of his septic left elbow. On January 16, 2015, plaintiff then underwent mitral valve surgery. On January 30, 2015, plaintiff was transferred to a nursing home where he received IV antibiotics for a month.
As a result of the malpractice, plaintiff sustained permanent cognitive deficits, including language, vision, attention and verbal memory impairments.
Plaintiff claimed the defendant was negligent in failing to identify the signs and symptoms of sepsis; in discharging plaintiff from the emergency room without receiving and reviewing the manual differential results; and in failing to recall plaintiff to the emergency department upon receipt of the abnormal lab results.