Elderly Patient Dies At Sacramento Hospital, Part 3 of 11

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this elder abuse/medical malpractice case and its proceedings.)

Evening of October 10, 2006

October 10, 2006 was the first day of a strike at the two MC hospitals. As required under the Labor Code, MC was given 10 days notice of the strike. In anticipation of the strike a contract was entered into with Arizona Clinical Employment Staffing, a company that supplies traveling nurses. ACES is owned and operated by nurses, and over the next 10 days ACES and MC worked closely to come up with a list of suitable replacement workers. Over 500 replacement workers were hired to cover Medical Center in Sacramento.

One of the nurse hired through ACES was Jim Reed. The evidence at trial will show that Mr. Reed is an experienced ICU and dialysis nurse who works regularly at a large teaching hospital. On October 10, he was one of two replacement nurses assigned to the dialysis unit. Plaintiff was scheduled for dialysis that day, and Reed was the nurse who cared for her in the dialysis unit.

According to the records plaintiff started dialysis at 2:47 p.m.. The initial set of vital signs were BP 107/58 and HR 89. The protocol in the unit was to document vitals every 30 minutes. The next set, at 3:17, was BP 84/38 and HR 91. According to the chart, Mr. Reed immediately turned off the ultra-filtration function of the dialysis machine. Ultra-filtration refers to the process of removing fluid during dialysis. It is very common for patient’s to drop their blood pressure during dialysis, especially if the orders are to reduce fluid. When fluid is removed from the circulation there is necessarily a drop in the blood volume, and a corresponding drop in blood pressure.

Because the blood pressure dropped down to 84/28 Mr. Reed turned off the ultra-filtration. This was consistent with the protocol. No medications had been ordered by the physicians to be given if plaintiff’s blood pressure dropped. However, the protocol at the time also required more frequent blood pressure readings if hypotention occurred. Consistent with this, Mr. Reed checked plaintiff’s blood pressure five minutes later. It was 90/42. It had clearly gone up in response to the UF being turned off. Over the next two hours blood pressure readings were as follows: 99/48, 105/47, 111/40, and 135/54. At 4:17, when the blood pressure was 105/47 Mr. Reed turned the UF back on. (See Part 4 of 11.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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