A recently filed New Hampshire medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the multiple defendant doctors failed to diagnose that an 80-year-old woman had a pill lodged in her throat despite numerous visits to her medical providers, allowing the pill to burn a hole into her pulmonary artery, causing her death. The medical examiner ruled that the woman died as a result of erosion of the right mainstem bronchus by an aspirated pill resulting in a bronchopulmonary fistula with fatal hemoptysis.
The woman’s son filed the New Hampshire medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit naming four physicians, a medical practice, and a medical clinic as the defendants, all of whom allegedly failed to find the pill lodged in his mother’s throat despite ongoing complaints of swallowing problems, breathing problems, coughing, pain, and other problems.
The New Hampshire medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the woman took her daily medications on February 27, 2015 and felt one of her pills go down the wrong way. The woman’s husband telephoned the defendant medical clinic, where his wife received primary medical care, to advise that his wife coughed for a long period of time and had shortness of breath. The defendant medical clinic allegedly advised him to bring his wife to an emergency room, where one of the defendant physicians ordered chest and neck x-rays and allegedly instructed the woman to restrict herself to soft foods only for one or two days until she felt better.
The woman returned to the same emergency room three days later, complaining of coughing and wheezing, where she was treated by another of the defendant physicians, who ordered a chest x-ray that was reported as normal. The defendant physician diagnosed her as having an exacerbation of her pre-existing COPD, and discharged her to home with codeine cough medicine and prednisone.
Three days later, the woman was seen by her primary care physician (another of the named medical malpractice defendants) who ordered another chest x-ray and placed her on an antibiotic, instructed her to continue taking prednisone, and planned to have her seen by a surgeon to determine if she need an endoscopy to determine if she had chemical pneumonitis. However, later that same day, after the defendant physician reviewed the chest x-ray taken earlier that day that showed a potential indication of an infection or a tumor, the defendant physician instructed the woman to arrange to be seen by a pulmonologist instead of a surgeon.
Eight days later, the woman was seen by a pulmonologist (also a defendant named in the New Hampshire medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit) who found that she was still coughing, wheezing, and was having problems breathing. The defendant pulmonologist determined that it was unlikely that the woman had a foreign body in her airway and diagnosed her as having a cough. The defendant pulmonologist told the woman to continue taking prednisone, to stop taking the antibiotic, to begin taking cough syrup, and to increase her dosage of acid suppression medication. The defendant pulmonologist wanted to see the woman back in her office in two weeks to determine if a chest CT scan would be appropriate to evaluate her for bronchiectasis or aspiration.
Six days later, the woman called the defendant pulmonologist’s office to report that she was not feeling any better. When the pulmonologist failed to call her back after five hours, she called the defendant primary care physician’s office, seeking help. Several hours later, her husband heard his wife yell at home, rushed to assist her, and found her collapsed in the bathroom. He called the rescue squad that arrived quickly and attempted CPR, but she could not be revived.
The New Hampshire medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the defendants breached the standard of care with regard to the woman’s treatment and that such breaches resulted in the failure to diagnose the lodged pill in her throat that led to the catastrophic injury that caused her death.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in New Hampshire or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a New Hampshire medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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