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Woman Becomes Quadruple Amputee After Giving Birth

Discussion in 'Topics in Healthcare' started by grinchick5, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. grinchick5

    7+ Year Member

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    Wow! Has anyone seen this?
    http://www.wftv.com/news/6253589/detail.html

    Thoughts?


    Woman Becomes Quadruple Amputee After Giving Birth

    POSTED: 5:59 pm EST January 19, 2006
    UPDATED: 4:06 pm EST January 20, 2006

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- A Sanford mother says she will never be able to hold her newborn because an Orlando hospital performed a life-altering surgery and, she claims, the hospital refuses to explain why they left her as a multiple amputee.

    The woman filed a complaint against Orlando Regional Healthcare Systems, she said, because they won't tell her exactly what happened. The hospital maintains the woman wants to know information that would violate other patients' rights.

    Claudia Mejia gave birth eight and a half months ago at Orlando Regional South Seminole. She was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando where her arms and legs were amputated. She was told she had streptococcus, a flesh eating bacteria, and toxic shock syndrome, but no further explanation was given.

    The hospital, in a letter, wrote that if she wanted to find out exactly what happened, she would have to sue them.

    "I want to know what happened. I went to deliver my baby and I came out like this," Mejia said.

    Mejia said after she gave birth to Mathew last spring, she was kept in the hospital with complications. Twelve days after giving birth at Orlando Regional South Seminole hospital, she was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center where she became a quadruple amputee. Now she can not care for or hold her baby.

    "Yeah, I want to pick him up. He wants me to pick him up. I can't. I want to, but I can't," she said. "Woke up from surgery and I had no arms and no legs. No one told me anything. My arms and legs were just gone."

    Her 7-year-old son, Jorge, asks his mother over and over what happened to her. Neither she nor her husband has the answer.

    "I love her, so I'll always stick with her and take it a day at a time myself," said her husband, Tim Edwards.

    The couple wants to know how she caught streptococcus, during labor or after. She doesn't know. She knows she didn't leave the hospital the same.

    "And why, I want to know why this happened," she said.

    Her attorney, Judy Hyman wrote ORHS a letter saying, according to the Florida statute, "The Patients Right To Know About Adverse Medical Incidents Act," the hospital must give her the records.

    "When the statute is named 'Patients Right To Know,' I don't know how it could be clearer," Hyman said.

    The hospital's lawyers wrote back, "Ms. Mejia's request may require legal resolution." In other words, according to their interpretation of the law, Mejia has to sue them to get information about herself.

    That's the sticking point, the interpretation of the Patients Right To Know act, a constitutional amendment Florida voters passed a little more than a year ago.

    Mejia's other attorney, E. Clay Parker, said the hospital is not following the law

    "We were forced to file this and ask a judge to interpret the constitutional amendment and do right," Parker said.

    Mejia hopes the right thing is done. She said not knowing exactly why it happened is unbearable. She only hopes she'll be able to soon answer her little boy's question, 'What happened?'

    "He told me everyday, 'What happened,' and I don't have any answers for that," she said.

    ORMC said Mejia is requesting information on if there were other patients or someone on her floor with the streptococcus. They said, if they release that to her, that would be a violation of other patients' rights.

    Copyright 2007 by wftv.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
     
  2. resxn

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    All that says to me is CREEPY!

    First, let's assume she had necrotizing fasciitis. I've operated on that at least a dozen times and the one thing you can count on is that it progresses in a linear fashion and doesn't jump from one area (say the foot) to another (the arm) without first traversing every inch of skin in between. It doesn't have satellite lesions.

    Why won't her doctors say anything? Why is the hospital so secretive?
    Who obtained consent for the procedures? The husband should have been at least contacted regarding the surgery for consent even if it was emergent.

    If I was her, I'd be going after them with the full weight of the law. If this was done inappropriately, and it is at least fishy in the story, I'd be looking to collect a huge amount of money as well.

    Anyone know more on this story? It's fascinating.
     
  3. McDoctor

    McDoctor Over One Billion Cured
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    The slant of this story is what is disgusting. They make it sound like the hospital won't tell her why they partially amputated her limbs. She was septic with gangrene of her distal extremities. tragic, yes, but nowhere near implausible. If they did not amputate, she surely would have died. Nowhere in this story do they mention that.

    Of course, she absolutely does NOT have the right to the medical records of all other patients in the hospital during her medical stay. That would be a huge violation of privacy and confidentiality for the other patients, not to mention it would also be a federal offense (and would bring an enormous string of litigation itself). Funny, the story also neglected to mention HIPPA act of 1996. Go figure.

    This story has a huge anti-doctor bias. This is why healthcare in America is such a hornets nest of litigation, because people buy this crap about evil hospitals and victimized patients hook, line, and sinker. The story is a textbook example of lazy, biased, and sloppy journalism. the hospital was not solicited for comment. The facts of the case where not clearly laid out. Clearly, it is intended to solicit an emotional response.

    What's fascinating is that this passes for journalism in today's media.
     
  4. OP
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    grinchick5

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    This was my question. It sounds like neither she nor her husband was consented.
     
  5. McDoctor

    McDoctor Over One Billion Cured
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    Don't you think this story is lacking way too much necessary information to come to any conclusions? Do you at least admit that she would have died without the surgery?
     
  6. McDoctor

    McDoctor Over One Billion Cured
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    Overwhelming sepsis certainly can cause profound hypotension, necrosis of the extremities, and gangrene can set in. There is nothing implausible about this. There are tons of case reports on this in the medical literature, your 12 cases notwithstanding.

    The hospital isn't necessarily being secretive about anything, except the other patient's medical information. But there is a law that clearly stipulates that they have to do that.

    The sentiment that everyone who has a bad outcome deserves a "huge amount of money" is what is wrong with healthcare in the U.S. I don't see any evidence of negligence or malpractice anywhere in this story. Just an effort to appeal to the reader's emotions. That's all this story is.
     
  7. resxn

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    I guess this is why I'm creeped out. The story does not seem to say anything regarding the medical care specifics, but at the same time, why not? Is it because the hospital is hiding something or is it because the plaintiff is asking the wrong questions?

    I'd be really surprised if they are trying to find out if someone else on the floor had strep. It is not relevant unless they are trying to pin this on the nurse that took care of both patients and was the vector for the infection. It otherwise doesn't matter because it still is obviously nosocomial.

    I think this boils down to what the consent process was. They shouldn't have even been able to transfer the patient under EMTALA without the family being notified as to why.
     
  8. FoughtFyr

    FoughtFyr SDN Lifetime Donor
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    They did consent her. What the patient wants to know is why she contracted the infection.

    "The couple wants to know how she caught streptococcus, during labor or after. She doesn't know. She knows she didn't leave the hospital the same."

    "ORMC said Mejia is requesting information on if there were other patients or someone on her floor with the streptococcus. They said, if they release that to her, that would be a violation of other patients' rights."

    The patient is not seeking information about herself, she is seeking information about others. It is that simple. It is awful that she got this infection, but what this lawyer is trying to do is establish a legal chain of causation. In other words, if they (shall we call them the plaintiffs already?) can show that there was another patient in the hospital that was the source of her infection, she can sue. If not, she won't be able to prove she didn't come into the facility with it. Kudos to the hospital for standing up to her and saying "no". I'm sorry but sometimes bad things happen. Unless a member of the hospital staff intentionally inoculated her (can we agree that is ridiculously improbable) it is just a tragic accident of life - and let's not forget the surgery SAVED HER LIFE!

    - H
     
  9. McDoctor

    McDoctor Over One Billion Cured
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    Let's not even get into the fact that the woman is inquiring into the records at Orlando Regional Medical Center, when it is clear from this story that SHE ALREADY WAS HAVING COMPLICATIONS OF INFECTION AND TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME BEFORE SHE WAS TRANSFERRED THERE!

    The story states she gave birth at a different hospital and was subsequently transferred to the larger facility. Of course, the story doesn't clearly state why she was transferred to a large tertiary care facility, but my guess is the it wasn't for routine post-natal care. To let us in on this detail might dampen the emotional impact of the story. Why muddy things up with information and logic? The quality of journalism in this story makes me physically ill.
     
  10. typeB-md

    typeB-md Be more like McCain!
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    McDoctor is explaining it just as it happened. I'm very familiar with this case and this particular news article is trash. The woman clearly consented to the amputation surgery and she and her husband don't doubt that it was necessary to save her life. She has absolutely no complaints about the procedures surrounding and during her amputation.

    What she has complaints with is how she got the infection. She wanted the hospital to give them the medical records of the patients on her floor so that she could find out from where she might have gotten the initial infection. The hospital more or less said "We can't do that (because of the law), and the only way to get access to the records is litigation."

    This particular article is so incendiary and slanted it's amazing it's not a piece of fiction.
     
  11. typeB-md

    typeB-md Be more like McCain!
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    She was transferred from a smaller hospital, Regional South Seminole, for treatment of the sepsis.

    Here is a f/u article with more facts: http://www.topix.net/content/trb/0384157816057894855001320775421072852857?threadid=HSHBSCI29QEIRK9O

    ---------------
    Amputee can see hospital records
    The Orlando Sentinel

    Rene Stutzman

    June 24, 2006

    We have spent hundreds of hours investigating this case
    A lawyer for Orlando Regional Healthcare System Inc. said Friday that the company's Longwood hospital was not the source of a flesh-eating bacteria that infected a young woman who had just given birth, requiring doctors to amputate both her arms and legs.
    Still, a judge ordered the company to release the records of any other patients who had similar diagnoses.

    On April 28, 2005, Claudia Mejia was admitted to Orlando Regional South Seminole Hospital in Longwood and delivered a healthy baby boy, but she soon developed a fever and got very sick.
    Doctors discovered the infection, a form of streptococcal A, then transferred her to the company's main hospital, Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she went into shock, lost consciousness, developed gangrene and lost kidney function.

    Twelve days after she gave birth, doctors amputated all four limbs to save her life.

    Mejia sued Orlando Regional in January, asking that it be forced to surrender information about any other patients with the same type of infection and related medical problems, such as toxic-shock syndrome and gangrene.

    She has not filed a malpractice suit.

    One of her lawyers, E. Clay Parker, said Friday that he thinks the type of infection Mejia contracted was 'a systemic problem' at South Seminole. He said he needs information about any other cases to determine whether infections were properly reported to state authorities and dealt with.

    Circuit Judge Clayton D. Simmons ruled that Florida's Constitution required the hospital to release records.

    'Any strep case would be relevant,' he said.

    That was a victory for Mejia.

    'We're very pleased with the court's ruling,' Parker said.

    Still in dispute, though, is how many and which patient records the hospital must provide.

    Hospital attorney Jennings 'Bucky' Hurt III urged the judge not to order the release of hundreds of patient records. 'We have the privacy issue,' Hurt said.

    He asked that the release be limited to patients who were at the hospital near the time of Mejia's hospitalization.

    Otherwise, it could cost millions of dollars if the hospital company had to surrender 2,200 records, the number of patients who suffered from the same disorders as Mejia, he said.

    'We have spent hundreds of hours investigating this case,' Hurt said. 'We cannot find any other person in proximity to her with strep A.'

    When asked if he believed Mejia got the infection at South Seminole Hospital, he said: 'I don't think she did. . . . She had a very unique form of strep A.'
    The judge predicted lawyers would be back in court soon to argue again over which case records the hospital company must release.

    Rene Stutzman can be reached at [email protected] or 407-324-7294.

    Copyright © 2006 The Orlando Sentinel, All Rights Reserved.
    -----------------------------
     
  12. OP
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    grinchick5

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    Yes, I do think the story is both slanted & lacking relevant info...that's why I was questioning. Though I have limited knowledge of her situation, I also agree that she likely would have died w/o proper treatment. I would not, however, consider myself even remotely qualified to determine whether surgery was the correct treatment. Not saying it wasn’t, just that I can’t judge.

    I posted this in part b/c the story seemed quite fantastical, and I wanted to see if anyone was familiar with the case & could provide additional insight.

    typeB-md, thanks for the link. I found this after my original post intended to post a follow-up. Looks like you beat me to it.:)



    This story still brings up interesting issues regarding what info hospitals should be required to disclose. I do agree that the hospital in this case was justified in refusing to provide info re other patients. However, it seems like the court is calling for the hospital to release some of this info. As a healthcare consumer, that frightens me. Someone else can sue for my records??
     
  13. McDoctor

    McDoctor Over One Billion Cured
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    Thanks for the link.
     
  14. McDoctor

    McDoctor Over One Billion Cured
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    Yeah, that is a good question. I think the law should purposely be flexible. In this instance, some aspects of other patient's records could be very relevant to this woman's case.
     
  15. resxn

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    If that's the case, then fantastic. It seriously is disconcerting to see how poorly that was written because the story makes it sound like she had no clue at any time what was going on. That she had an infection, that she required amputation, that she was aware of any of it. It actually made it sound like she went out for a c-section and woke up an amputee--obviously ridiculous, but still written that way.

    Necrotizing fasciitis is also what this story implied with streptococcus as a "flesh-eating bacteria" and not septic hypotensive necrosis. Vastly different pathologies with vastly different treatments. Necrotizing fasciitis does progress in linear fashion whereas septicemia with hypotensive necrosis does not--especially with the chance of septic emboli seeding multiple regions and systems simultaneously. And to be quite frank, if she did have hypotensive necrosis, it wouldn't matter where she got the bug, because even something as ubiquitous as staph epidermidis can cause the same thing in avascular tissue.

    Seriously, I hope the editor of the newspaper that published this trash is called on it.

    Unfortunately, HIPPAA does not protect your medical information in the event that it has affected someone else's health either directly or indirectly. If you are the source of another's infection, even though you are not responsible for transmitting it, your information can be made known--even in a civil suit.

    Your medical information is private only insomuch that it doesn't also involve the health of another. I saw this a couple of times as a resident where a subpoena was obtained for a person's medical records for another patient who was suing a doctor for something or other. In one of these cases it was to compare the care of another patient receiving the same procedure as the plaintiff within the same week. You're right, that is scary.
     

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