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

On May 6, 2011 a 77-year-old female nursing home patient developed diarrhea and was diagnosed with C. diff. However, the patient was not tested or treated properly by nursing home staff. On June 18, 2011, the patient’s stool was tested for C. diff, which was positive for C. diff.  However, neither the nursing home nor the treating physician ordered or administered antibiotics to treat the C. diff.

The patient was sent to the hospital on June 21, 2011, at which time her abdomen was tender and distended and she had hypoactive bowel sounds. A CT scan showed diffuse colonic wall thickening consistent with colitis. At the hospital, the patient reported she had diarrhea that included 10-15 bowel movements daily. The patient’s white blood cell count was elevated and she was started on Flagyl and Vancocin, but her C. diff injuries were, by that time, too severe. The patient required surgery on June 22, 2011, at which time she was diagnosed with fulminant colitis.

Following surgery, the patient developed respiratory failure and required a trach. She also developed septic shock, congestive heart failure, and pneumonia. VRE was identified in the patient’s blood, and she also developed heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. The patient was discharged from the hospital on August 17, 2011. She died on July 11, 2012. Her death certificate identified sepsis as the immediate cause of death and intraabdominal infection as an underlying cause of death.

The family contacted us to pursue claims against the nursing home for failing to provide proper C. diff treatment. We were able to obtain a generous award for the patient’s family.