Damages Awarded in N.M. ED Delay Case

Man suffered burst appendix while he waited more than 5 hours at hospital


 
 

Olivier Uyttebrouck, Journal Staff Writer | | Thursday, May 3, 2012


A New Mexico jury awarded $115,000 to a Rio Rancho man who waited more than five hours in Presbyterian Hospital's Downtown emergency room with appendicitis before he was seen by a physician.

Chris Mandeville, a Rio Rancho Fire Department paramedic, suffered a burst appendix before he was admitted to a surgical unit more than nine hours after he and his wife arrived at the emergency room in 2010, according to court records. Mandeville said he filed the lawsuit to prompt Presbyterian to "fix" its emergency room system.

"There's a breakdown in communication and training with Presbyterian," he said in a phone interview Wednesday. A 2nd Judicial District Court jury on Friday awarded Mandeville $15,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages. Niki Allcorn, a spokeswoman for Presbyterian Healthcare Services, said attorneys had not decided as of Wednesday whether they would appeal the verdict. Allcorn said she could not discuss details of the case.

Presbyterian established a "patient navigator" program in response to Mandeville's case that diverts non-emergency patients to primary care providers to alleviate emergency room congestion, Allcorn said.

A doctor at a Presbyterian urgent care in Rio Rancho had diagnosed Mandeville with appendicitis and directed him to Presbyterian's Downtown emergency room at 5 p.m. on Feb. 12, 2010, according to court records.

Mandeville was seen by a triage nurse at 5:48 p.m., but was not seen by a doctor until shortly after 11 p.m., records show. He said by 9 p.m., the pain in his abdomen was so severe that he could no longer walk. He remained in the hospital for eight days after the surgery, but has since recovered and returned to work, he said.

A CT scan completed by 12:30 a.m. Feb. 13, 2010, showed results "compatible with acute appendicitis," according to a response filed by attorneys representing Presbyterian. Mandeville was admitted to the hospital for surgery at 3 a.m., more than nine hours after he arrived at the emergency room, according to the complaint.

Mandeville should never have been directed to an emergency room, said his attorney, James C. Ellis of Albuquerque. His urgent care physician "didn't know that he could have sent the patient directly to a surgeon," Ellis said in an interview Wednesday. Mandeville should have received surgery within minutes after a physician diagnosed him with acute appendicitis, Ellis said.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

University of Pittsburgh STAAMP Trial

Trauma experts launch tranexamic acid trial.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New York Ambulance Service Begins Using Power Cot

Service is first in county with new technology.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Traffic Cam Captures Wisconsin Ambulance Crash

Driver of ambulance cited for failing to operate safely.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Hospital Mourns Helicopter Crash Victims

TriState CareFlight pilot and crew killed in crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Moscow Subway MCI

At least 20 dead and 150 injured in subway derailment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On July 2014

Check out the latest products and innovations in JEMS.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Wounded Veteran Resiliency

Marine is one of many in quality of life study.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >