Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Filed Against Greenville Health Systems
At least four people died after surgery at Greenville Health Systems hospitals in South Carolina, and allegations came to light over the summer. Now, a family has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital chain.
According to officials, at least 15 patients were infected with Mycobacterium abscessus, and four died, after being treated at the Greenville Memorial Hospital, a member of the Greenville Health Systems chain.
Two of the medical malpractice lawsuit filings involve wrongful death lawsuits for the families of lla Mae Mattison and Henry Weinacker. The third is a medical malpractice case involving former patient Thomas Fowler, who survived the infection.
Mattison, a homemaker in Pickens County, South Carolina, underwent coronary bypass surgery at the Greenville Memorial Hospital in September 2013. She developed a drainage at the incision site, according to court documents. Despite her recent heart surgery, she was simply prescribed antibiotics and sent home on October 2nd. In March 2014, Mattison was readmitted to Greenville Memorial for a large aortic pseudoaneurysm, and the hospital staff noticed that she had “toxic appearing tissues.” They ran a culture which confirmed she was infected with Mycobacterium abscessus. She was prescribed additional antibiotics for the infection, then underwent surgery to repair the aneurysm. The infection continued to spread and she died on June 23rd, at the age of 59.
Weinacker was a restaurateur in Oconee County, who also underwent heart surgery – a cardiac catheterization – in February 2014. In March, he had mitral valve and cardiac bypass surgery, then received a pacemaker and was discharged from Greenville Memorial. However, because the Greenville Health Systems member failed to properly clean its instruments, Weinacker developed Mycobacterium abscessus infection. His health deteriorated over a period of weeks, he developed pneumonia, and died on June 22nd after numerous surgeries and procedures that failed to stop the severe infection.
The court filings said that “not until the plaintiff’s family saw a news report did they learn that Mycobacterium abscessus … should never been found in the operative setting.”
Fowler also underwent a cardiac catheterization in March 2014, with bypass surgery in April. In May, he noticed the incision sites were red and painful, which is a classic indication of infection. In June, he was diagnosed with the Mycobacterium abscessus infection and prescribed strong antibiotics. According to court documents, although he survived, “Mr. Fowler has been forced to endure numerous other medical procedures, hospital admissions, and constant vigorous antibiotic treatment therapies, all of which do not even begin to reveal the extensive toll that this has taken on his life and the life of his wife and family.”
“We now believe that surgery processes involving the use of tap water may have inadvertently brought the organism into the perioperative environment,” said Robert Mobley Jr., M.D., GHS’ medical director of quality. “Although we use sterile water in or near the surgical sterile field, even something as seemingly safe as pre-surgery hand washing may have contributed. At this time, we have not been able to find any single cause or process as the trigger for the outbreak, but we’ve taken extraordinary measures to protect our patients – and believe we’ve succeeded. With patient safety as our first priority, we are taking protective measures to prevent further exposure to tap water in the operative environment.”
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Due to Negligence
Each year, nearly 100,000 people die as a result of surgical errors, and many more suffer devastating personal consequences. Surgical errors, hospital acquired infections, and medical malpractice lawsuits can ruin you and your loved ones’ lives, demanding time away from work and thousands of dollars in medical bills. If you or a loved one has suffered pain, patient death, and continuing health problems after surgery, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free consultations, so contact us today about your medical malpractice concerns. 803.252.4800.