A 66-year-old man has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a Mercy Clinic in Missouri, alleging emergency room negligence after he says two doctors at Mercy Hospital failed to provide proper treatment for a flesh-eating bacteria infection he had in 2010. The lawsuit, which is scheduled for a September trial, claims he was not given proper emergency care because he did not have medical insurance, and it resulted in the bacteria spreading across his left buttocks and leg.
The plaintiff was seen in the emergency room in June 2010 for "perirectal abscess and cellulitis," according to the lawsuit. The emergency room doctor, who is listed as a defendant in the case, spoke with a surgeon about the man's case. The surgeon decided not to see the man while he was in the emergency room, but said to make an appointment on the following day. He was discharged with antibiotics and painkillers. It was four days until an appointment could be made through the surgeon's medical practice, though.
The man underwent four surgeries to remove damaged and dead tissue, as well as a skin graft procedure. He also required a colostomy to stop the infection. The total costs for the care, including surgeries, was more than $400,000.
Two expert witnesses in the man's case say that health care providers are required by law to provide emergency care in order to stabilize patients in need. According to a hospital document, the man's status on the day of his emergency room visit was "bad debt" because he had no insurance and was not employed.
Mercy Hospital would not comment on the lawsuit, but said they do not base any patient's treatment on whether or not the patient can pay the bill. The man and his wife, who is listed as a co-defendant, have asked for a jury trial. The damages sought in the case include pain, mental anguish, loss of consort and loss of companionship.
If you believe you have suffered due to medical malpractice, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your options. Similar claims for damages may be applicable to your case.