We negotiated a $4 million settlement on behalf of a young man who was left in a permanent vegetative state after hospital physicians and nurses failed to treat worsening sepsis and pneumonia and overdosed him with intravenous tranquilizers, causing ischemic brain damage. The plaintiff, a 27-year-old restaurant worker, presented to the emergency room with vomiting, shortness of breath and pleuritic chest pain. Blood tests and a chest CT scan proved consistent with sepsis and pneumonia.
The ER physician started intravenous antibiotics and transferred the patient to the intensive care unit, but no ICU physician assumed responsibility for his care. Finally, after 20 hours without evaluation by a physician, the patient became obtunded and his breathing slowed.