A 44-year old man who had recently married was involved in an automobile accident in July of 2005. The patient was taken to a Level 1 Trauma Center for care relating to his injuries but ultimately died of abdominal compartment syndrome which developed due to a splenic rupture only a few hours after being admitted. His death was directly attributable to an unreasonable delay in instituting definitive treatment for a continually bleeding Grade V splenic laceration due to the hospital’s failure to comprehend the seriousness of the situation in which the patient had bled almost his entire volume of blood into his abdomen.
It is highly unusual for an alert and talking patient to die from a splenic laceration in a Level 1 trauma center and was completely preventable. The plaintiff received a favorable opinion from a Medical Review Panel consisting of three doctors who rendered the opinion that the defendants failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care as charged by the plaintiff and this failure was a contributing factor in the patient’s death. The patient was also awarded damages from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund.