$17 Million Emergency Room Error Settlement
W. v. The University of Chicago Hospitals
A male with a history of and a severe risk of developing bacterial endocarditis went to the University of Chicago Medical Center complaining of severe headaches, back and chest pains, a rapid heart rate and a fever. He was given ibuprofen — but no tests for the condition — before being sent home. Two days later he returned with the same symptoms. Lab tests and a cardiologist confirmed he was suffering from bacterial endocarditis. By the time he underwent surgery 17 days later, the infection had destroyed heart tissue and led to the rupture of a conduit that supplied blood to his lungs. The conduit had been inserted, along with two stents, because of a congenital heart condition. The blood loss and low blood pressure that resulted from the rupture led to brain damage, speech difficulties, loss of vision and the inability to use the left side of his body.