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Widow sues hospital for improper diagnosis of bacterial infection

The family of 43-year-old Athens, Ohio, man who died on April 20, 2016 at the Medical Center at Ohio State University has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against various defendants for what is alleged to have been his wrongful death from necrotizing fascitis. Among the defendants, there is the Holzer Clinic, Ohio Health O’Bleness Hospital, Athens Medical Associates and emergency room physicians who treated the man.

In the lawsuit filed in the Common Pleas Court system in Athens County in March of 2017, it chronicles how the man was first admitted to the Holzer Clinic on April 15, 2016 after having complained of having chills, a headache, a 102 fever, body aches and congestion. Three days later, the man reported to O’Bleness’ emergency room complaining of low leg swelling and pain at a level of eight on a 10-point scale.

The victim was prescribed a painkiller commonly used to treat deep-vein thrombosis. Despite having an abnormally fast heart rate and continued flu-like symptoms, he was released from the hospital again. Although family members asked if the man should go the short distance to Columbus for further testing, the doctor recommended against it.

Doctors scheduled an ultrasound on the man’s leg the following morning for 8:00 a.m., to confirm his deep-vein thrombosis diagnosis. However, by 5:00 a.m. the next morning, his right leg pain had worsened. An ultrasound showed no signs of thrombosis.

The patient’s father asked doctors if some type of antibiotic would benefit his son, but the treating physician said no. Some three hours later, the man was determined to be at risk of losing his limb according to Systematic Inflammatory Response criteria.

By afternoon, the man had suffered numerous heart attacks suspected to be related to a case of sepsis. Antibiotics were only finally administered by doctors to prepare him to be helicoptered to Ohio State University for treatment.

As for the family’s wrongful death attorney, he claims that O’Bleness and its doctors failed to order necessary tests to prove the presence of the man’s life-threatening illness and necessity for antibiotics ultimately resulting in this death.

The family’s lawsuit is seeking to recover damages for the man’s pain and suffering he endured as his condition went misdiagnosed. The man’s widow is seeking both punitive and compensatory damages in this medical misdiagnosis case as well.

Source:, “Family of man who died of bacterial infection sues hospital, several others,” David DeWitt, April 16, 2017