San Francisco Medical Malpractice Case Results From Failure To Monitor, Part 1 of 2

The following blog entry is written to illustrate an example of a medical malpractice case. Reviewing this kind of lawsuit should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court. It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco General, California Pacific Medical Center, or St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury case and its proceedings.)

INJURIES: The decedent was a few months short of completing her fellowship in hematology/oncology at UCSF. She had job prospects which would have provided her a starting salary of more than $200,000 per year. The decedent’s husband is a medical doctor who has completed a residency in neurology and who specializes in pain management. His future earnings would have been comparable to the decedent’s. The decedent’s parents joined with her husband and daughter as wrongful death claimants, alleging that she had been contributing to their support. The daughter was 2 years old at the time of the decedent’s death.


On May 26, 2007, plaintiffs’ decedent, 32, a physician, underwent an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography procedure to remove a bile duct stone and to insert a stent to relieve biliary obstruction. The procedure was performed by a University of California-San Francisco professor, who heads the endoscopy program, and a gastroenterology fellow.

The decedent was to be deeply sedated and monitored by a sedation nurse. Approximately 15 minutes after the endoscope was passed, the decedent’s oxygen saturation values fell and then became undetectable. The sedation nurse attributed the problem to a malfunction of the monitor, rather than to a change in the decedent’s condition, and about 10 minutes later, after the original monitor was replaced by a second pulse oximeter, the decedent went into ventricular tachycardia.

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

This led the team to remove the endoscope, turn the decedent, attempt to open her airway, begin chest compressions, and call a Code. A Code team was assembled in approximately six minutes, and their efforts were unsuccessful in bringing the decedent back. The decedent was eventually provided extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. She remained on maximal life support for eight days, and when it became evident that she had an irreversible anoxic brain injury, support was withdrawn on June 4.

The decedent’s family sued the Regents of the University of California for medical malpractice.

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

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