Failure to Diagnose and Treat Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP)

WRSH partner Jason Rubin obtained a $2.7 million settlement in a case involving the death of a 43 year old mother of four as a result of a doctor's failure to diagnose and treat thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a rare blood disorder which causes clots to form in the small blood vessels throughout the body.

Decedent presented to the hospital in December 2007 with weakness; bleeding gums, headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath. Significantly, she had a history of being diagnosed with TPP two years earlier at the same hospital and she was successfully treated with plasmapharesis a blood purification procedure. Upon presentation to the hospital in December 2007, a hematology consult was requested and he made a diagnosis of Evans Syndrome a rare autoimmune disorder in which the body makes antibodies which destroy red blood cells and platelets. He recommended treatment with corticosteroids, intravenous immune globulin and platelets. Shortly after being administered platelets, decedent coded and died. An autopsy was performed which determined the cause of death to be cardiac complications of TTP (occlusive blood clots of the myocardial arterioles).

Jason claimed that the medical evidence strongly pointed to the diagnosis of TTP and that the hematologist negligently diagnosed decedent and treated decedent for Evans Syndrome. Specifically, decedent had a history of TTP two years earlier and was, therefore, prone to relapse; her peripheral blood smear showed schistocytes (fragmented red blood cells) in the bloodstream a finding consistent with TTP; the Coombs test was negative a finding consistent with TTP and inconsistent with Evans Syndrome. Jason contended that administration of platelets which promoted the formation of blood clots as well as the failure to administer plasmapharesis, caused decedent' death.

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