I recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Memorial Hospital and two physicians stemming from the death of Tom Hussey, a 52-year-old Navy veteran who died on June 7, 2016 following a four-day stay.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of his widow, Edna Hussey, alleging Memorial and its treating physicians committed medical malpractice by failing to diagnose and treat a pulmonary embolism, which caused Mr. Hussey’s death just hours after he was discharged.
Mr. Hussey was admitted to Memorial Hospital with shortness of breath, trouble breathing, heart palpitations and blood loss. The cardiologist found a dilation of his right ventricle. Two primary causes for this symptom are blood loss, such as a gastrointestinal bleed, or a pulmonary embolism.
Pulmonary Embolism History
Medical records show that during Mr. Hussey’s hospital stay, thorough gastrointestinal testing was done and no internal bleed was found. As part of his treatment, Mr. Hussey received a blood transfusion that improved some of his symptoms and he was discharged. My lawsuit contends that both the internist and cardiologist managing Mr. Hussey’s care should have ruled out a pulmonary embolism as the root cause of his symptoms.
Despite having a history of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms, for which the cardiologist previously treated Mr. Hussey, no testing for pulmonary embolisms was done. In fact, before the gastrointestinal testing, Mr. Hussey was taken off his anticoagulant medication that helped keep his deep vein thrombosis under control, putting him at a higher risk for pulmonary embolisms. If Mr. Hussey had been properly diagnosed and treated for a pulmonary embolism, he would be alive today.
A common cause of medical mistakes is communication breakdown between medical professionals. In Mr. Hussey’s case, medical records indicate his cardiologist recommended a CT angiogram to rule out a pulmonary embolism if his symptoms did not improve. That suggestion was never followed up on by the medical staff.
According to Edna Hussey, her husband told her at the hospital that he was afraid he was going to die there. She says she had a bad feeling and believed he should not have been discharged. ”They did all this testing. I didn’t speak with any doctors and no one could tell me what was wrong. They dropped the ball and my husband is gone,” she said. In hindsight, she wishes she had been more aggressive pressing the medical staff for answers. “I trusted them.”
When Mrs. Hussey left the hospital with her husband, he was so weak and his breathing was so labored, a friend needed to help him into his home. Hours later, Mr. Hussey collapsed on the bathroom floor and died.
Mr. Hussey’s death has had a domino effect on his wife. The couple had big plans for his retirement. Now, she faces losing their home that contains 21 years of memories. In addition, Memorial Hospital filed a statement of claim for unpaid medical bills against Mr. Hussey’s estate and recently withdrew that claim.
Medical malpractice happens in Jacksonville every day and is the third leading cause of death in this country. When medical mistakes are made the consequences can be minor or devastating, as in this case. At Terrell Hogan, we represent the injured as they seek justice. We want to help make sure your rights are protected. We are going to vigorously pursue justice on Mrs. Hussey’s behalf.