The Dragovich Case
In this case, we represented the Estate of our deceased client, who was 78-years old when she died.
To help her recover from lumbar laminectomy surgery performed by a local neurosurgeon, our client was admitted to a local rehabilitation hospital under the care of a physiatrist. While under the physiatrist’s care, the incision from the back surgery was not healing properly and began to drain fluid. After some delay, the physiatrist finally consulted with an associate of the neurosurgeon who examined our client and ordered anaerobic and aerobic cultures of the wound.
Three days later, the wound culture results came back as positive for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureaus (“MRSA”). MRSA is a specific strain of the staphylococcus aureus bacterium that has developed antibiotic resistance to all penicillins and must be treated with very specific antibiotics.
Although a nurses’ note documented that the physiatrist was aware of the positive MRSA culture, our client was discharged home that same day with no treatment for the MRSA infection. While at home, our client was followed by home care nurses who documented the worsening of the incision site but failed to do anything about it except tell the family to change the dressing more often. Our client subsequently became septic, was hospitalized, and died of general organ failure due to the MRSA infection.
On behalf of our client’s Estate, we brought suit against the rehabilitation hospital, the physiatrist, the neurosurgeon who ordered the culture, and the home care nurses. After a jury was empanelled, but prior to opening statements, the case settled for a substantial sum with each party contributing to the settlement. Our client was survived by two adult children; her husband passed away after the incident but prior to trial.