Emergency Room Malpractice Lawsuit Filed Over Death of Infant

A wrongful death malpractice lawsuit was filed earlier this month in West Virginia against an emergency room doctor who failed to diagnose an infant with a bowel obstruction after she was taken to the hospital with symptoms that allegedly should have led to a thorough search for its cause.

The West Virginia Record reports that Sara Norman, the mother of Lainey McKenzee Alexis Norman, filed the emergency room malpractice lawsuit on April 2, 2009, in the Wood Circuit Court against Dr. Andrew Hughes and his employer, Best Practices, Inc., which is the medical staffing company for the emergency room at Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital.

According to the complaint, Sara Norman took the infant to the ER on January 3, 2007, with complaints that the baby was repeatedly vomiting a green substance, being lethargic, not eating well and having problems with bowel movements.

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After conducting a stomach ultrasound and chest x-ray, Dr. Hughes discharged the child without consulting any specialists or taking any further steps to investigate the cause of the problems.

When the symptoms did not improve, Norman brought the child back to the emergency room a second time. The doctors which examined the baby during the second visit suspected sepsis and bowel obstruction, and the child was transferred to another hospital where she underwent several surgeries that revealed “dead bowel” and total intestinal gangrene.

On January 7, 2007, the child died after experiencing multi-organ failure that left her on life-support.

The medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the first emergency room doctor’s misdiagnosis prevented potentially life-saving treatment from being provided.

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