Stephen M. O'Brien III, PLLC - Personal Injury Attorneys
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Family of woman who died from flesh-eating bacteria sues hospital

When someone goes to a hospital for medical treatment, they expect to receive the appropriate care. This does not always happen, though. Medical errors can and do occur, and sometimes with deadly consequences. While the following case did not happen in Kentucky, it does underscore the need for medical professionals to provide the very best care possible.

According to a recently-filed lawsuit, a 43-year-old woman was seen at and admitted to Cottage Hospital in San Diego, California, in February 2012 for a variety of symptoms, including vomiting, dehydration, chest pain and swelling in her chest. She was discharged later that same day, but the next morning she returned to the emergency room at the same hospital. The lawsuit says her symptoms were worse. She was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit. She received a “presumed diagnosis of pneumonia” and severe sepsis.

The woman, however, had necrotizing fasciitis, which is better known as flesh-eating bacteria. She received treatment after the correct diagnosis was made, but the lawsuit alleges it was too late by then. She died two days after she was admitted to ICU.

The woman’s family filed the suit against the hospital and two doctors that treated the beloved school teacher for medical negligence and wrongful death. The hospital hasn’t commented on the case, but did say that out of 68 patients who were treated for the flesh-eating bacteria between 2010 and 2013, only four died.

Medical malpractice or negligence claims, including emergency room negligence, are often not filed because some people are worried it will add to the rising costs of health care. The truth is that states that have capped medical malpractice judgments have still seen the cost of medical insurance premiums rise. A personal injury attorney can help you understand how such a lawsuit can help your family as you struggle to cope with a medical error.

Source:, “Cottage Hospital Sued Over Flesh-Eating Bacteria Death” Kelsey Brugger, Aug. 28, 2013

O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC is located in Lexington, KY and serves clients in and around Lexington, Keene, Nicholasville, Versailles, Midway, Georgetown, Wilmore, Paris, Bourbon County, Fayette County, Jessamine County, Scott County and Woodford County.

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