$1 Million Settlement for Failure to Diagnose Bacterial Endocarditis Resulting in Stroke

Blume Goldfaden partner Kenneth W. Elwood obtained a $1,000,000 settlement on behalf of a 61-year-old man who had been treated in an emergency room, diagnosed with pneumonia, and discharged home on antibiotics with orders to see his primary care physician (his G.P.). Despite phone messages to his doctor that he’d been treated in the E.R. and had pneumonia, he did not receive a call back. The blood cultures taken in the hospital eventually grew streptococcus viridans, a bacteria known to cause bacterial endocarditis. The blood culture results were not conveyed to plaintiff or his primary care physician. Approximately seven weeks later, plaintiff was seen by his primary care physician complaining of malaise and low grade fever. At that point, the prior blood culture results were discovered and the plaintiff was diagnosed with bacterial endocarditis and admitted to the hospital for I.V. antibiotic therapy. While in the hospital, the man suffered a stroke associated with the endocarditis, the treatment for which was delayed by the negligent failures in communication between his healthcare providers. The stroke left the man with residual left leg weakness and a gait abnormality requiring use of a cane and leg brace. He has suffered several seizures following the stroke, and must be maintained on seizure medication. The case settled on the third day of jury selection.