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Antibiotic Overdose / Deafness

CATEGORIES: Nursing Home CASE LOCATION: Allegheny Co., PA. CLASSIFICATION: Substantial Recoveries

The Kendall Case

Mrs. Kendall was an 89 year old woman, and resident of a local nursing home which she loved. She was healthy, except for one medical condition that she had – osteomylitis – a lingering infection in the bone of her leg. Her doctors tried to treat it, but it was more of a nuisance than a critical problem. However, her new doctor, Dr. Porta, decided he wanted to try to get rid of the infection with a new stronger antibiotic, Amicain.

He wrote the prescription, but forgot to check the proper dosage, and ended up giving her too much of the antibiotic. Also, since it was a stronger antibiotic, he failed to order blood tests to monitor the amount of the antibiotic in Mrs. Kendall’s blood. If he had, he would have clearly seen that there was too much antibiotics in her system.

Unfortunately, one side effect of an antibiotic overdose is the risk of losing one’s hearing After taking the powerful drug for three weeks, that is exactly what happened to Mrs. Kendall – she lost her hearing – total deafness.

Amazingly, once Dr. Porta found out that Mrs. Kendall was deaf, he went back to the nursing home, pulled the medical chart, and changed the records. By changing the records, he was clearly trying to blame the nurses for giving Mrs. Kendall too much of the drug, rather than accepting responsibility for his mistake.

However, Dr. Porta made a serious miscalculation. Although he altered the nursing home records, he forgot that the prescription sheets had been faxed to the pharmacy. On the faxed prescription sheets, it clearly showed that Dr. Porta had written an incorrect prescription, and that he didn’t order any tests to see if the dosage was effective or not. Not only were we able to show that Dr. Porta was wrong in prescribing too much antibiotics, but we recovered the medical records, and were able to show that he tried to cover his tracks and altered the medical records to try to blame someone else.

After the complaint was filed, Dr. Porta decided to settle the case for a confidential substantial settlement.