Commonwealth Journal

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March 31, 2014

$10.6 million judgment returned in medical malpractice lawsuit

(Continued)

Somerset —

According to the plaintiffs’ memorandum, Dixon developed a fever and a tachycardic heart rate soon after her initial surgery on Dec. 17, 2009. By day two, Dixon reportedly told nurses she was in considerable pain, and tests on Dixon revealed abnormal activity. By Dec. 19, Dixon was moved to the ICU at LCRH, and according to nurses’ notes, Husted failed to respond immediately to what appeared to be signs of infection — a result of a gastric leak. Husted discovered the intra-abdominal gastric leak during a second exploratory surgery on Dec. 20, 2009. 
By Dec. 25, 2009, Dixon was placed on a breathing vent. By Jan. 4, 2010, her blood pressure was recorded at 196/93, in spite of blood pressure medications being used. Although Dixon still suffered from a fever and high blood pressure, Husted discharged her from LCRH on Jan. 8, 2010. Her intra-venous antibiotics were also discontinued, according to the plaintiffs’ memorandum. 
Throughout her hospital stay, Dixon’s nurses exhibited signs that they were concerned about Husted’s treatment of Dixon, shown through their notes, according to the plaintiffs’ memorandum. 
Memorandums entered by the defense teams for LCRH and Husted both suggest that Dixon showed considerable signs of improving, and that she refused a final CT scan before her discharge. 
The question of whether the infection, caused by abscesses, was missed in the scan, was also before the jury. Dr. Paul Wooldridge and Bluegrass Radiology Associates, who were added to the lawsuit through the litigation process, were not found to be at fault by the jury. 
The memorandum filed by the team for LCRH states that Dixon, after her discharge, “failed to follow her physician’s instructions to return to the hospital or seek medical attention on Jan. 12, 2010, the day before she died, after she experienced unusual pain and other symptoms.”
The plaintiffs’ memorandum disputes that, stating that Bruce Dixon opted to not take his wife back to the hospital because her fever never exceeded 101 degrees Fahrenheit, and because “none of the discharge instructions ... were implicated.” The memorandum also points out that Bruce Dixon attempted to contact Husted’s office on Jan. 11 and 12, 2010 to check on a wound VAC, used to help heal wounds through the use of pressure. Those attempts, according to the plaintiffs’ memorandum, “produced no results.”

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