Patient’s C.Diff Not Timely Diagnosed or Treated; Nursing Home Settles

A female patient was admitted to the nursing home for short term rehabilitation. While at the nursing home, the patient began experiencing loose stools and diarrhea daily. She also experienced confusion, drowsiness, nausea, light headedness, low blood pressure, weakness, fever, lethargy, and incontinence. Despite daily diarrhea and decline in her medical condition, the nursing home did not test the patient for Clostridium difficile (C.diff) toxins in her bowel. After two weeks of daily diarrhea, the nursing home finally obtained a stool specimen from the patient and transmitted it for C.diff testing. Delays occurred in obtaining and transmitting the stool specimen for testing, during which time the patient’s condition continued to deteriorate. The patient began experiencing large malodorous green mucous stools. C.diff test results revealed the presence of C.diff toxins in the patient’s stool. The patient was prescribed Flagyl to treat the C.diff. The antibiotic was prescribed far too late in the course of the patient’s C.diff illness and the patient was transferred to the hospital in septic shock.

At the hospital, the patient was diagnosed with severe C.diff colitis and required removal of her colon. Despite colon removal and placement of a colostomy, the patient continued to deteriorate and was diagnosed with multi-system organ failure and peritonitis. The patient died after being hospitalized for several weeks. The patient’s family sued the nursing home for failing to recognize the patient’s C.diff, timely confirm the C.diff with diagnostic testing, and timely treat the C.diff with antibiotics, all of which would have prevented her lengthy disease, hospitalization, septic shock, and death. The nursing home settled the case for a confidential amount in the seven figures.

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