Hospital Paper Shuffling Blamed for Antibiotic Allergy Death
HOUSTON (CN) – A man died from anaphylactic shock because a Houston hospital took 26 minutes to verify he had insurance before seeing him, his family claims in court.
Baldomero Flores’ parents and three children sued Doctors Hospital-Tidwell and Dr. Charles Liggett on Friday in Harris County Court.
Flores, 32, went to a Doctors Hospital-affiliated clinic the day after Christmas 2013 for a mouth infection and got a shot of antibiotics, penicillin and a prescription for other antibiotics. His infection got worse that night and he called 911.
“During transit to Hospital, Houston Fire Department paramedics noted a worsening swelling of Mr. Flores’ throat, a temperature of 103, and an alarming seated heart rate of 160 – he was having an anaphylactic reaction,” the lawsuit states.
The paramedics alerted the hospital’s emergency room staff to Flores’ dire condition and the staff was nonchalant, the family says.
“Baldomero Flores Jr. was not triaged by hospital until 2107 [9:07 p.m.], some 26 minutes after arrival. … Despite the report from the Houston Fire EMS, hospital delayed triage of Mr. Flores so as to seek insurance information and obtain prepayment for services,” his family says.
When the medics got around to him, his family says, Flores’ face was swollen and he could barely speak or swallow. They offered him over-the-counter painkillers, nothing to reverse the allergic reaction, and 7 minutes later he became unresponsive.
“At such time, Charles Lee Liggett Jr. M.D. shockingly had still not seen the patient,” the lawsuit states.
Flores then urinated and defecated on himself, which got the nurses moving. They injected him with Ativan, Solu-Medrol and Benadryl: drugs for anxiety and allergic reactions. None of it worked and he began vomiting.
Fifteen minutes later, the family says, Flores’ blood pressure dropped to 83/49 and the staff gave him dopamine. They tried to intubate him twice but couldn’t get the line past his swollen tongue and throat so they did an emergency tracheotomy.
Though a shot of epinephrine aka adrenaline is best for someone suffering from an extreme allergic reaction, the hospital waited 90 minutes to give Flores adrenaline, his family says. By then it was too late. He died at 11:26 p.m.
The Harris County coroner “assessed anaphylaxis complicating antibiotic therapy as the sole cause of death,” according to the complaint.
They seek more than $1 million damages for wrongful death and gross negligence.
They are represented by Les Weisbrod with Miller Weisbrod in Dallas.
The hospital did not respond to a request for comment.
The family also sued the hospital’s general partner, Tidwell/Parkway Ventures LLC.