Heart Failure Patient Goes Untreated at Local Hospital

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by
— Updated on October 13, 2017

This case involves a seventy-nine-year-old male patient who presented to the hospital with shortness of breath. The patient was worked up in the emergency room, where it was determined that he was suffering from congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema. The patient was transferred to the cardiac care unit and the physician’s orders to the nurses were to evaluate the patient every four hours. The patient was not checked until the tenth hour of admission due to an alleged shift-change miscommunication. When a nurse went to the patient’s bedside, he was unconscious and unresponsive. It took the nurse ten additional minutes to call a code blue. CPR was initiated and lasted forty-five minutes until the time of death was called. It was also alleged that the CCU monitors never went off when the patient went into cardiac arrest because the patient was not attached to the monitoring system.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. How effective are CPR measures if initiated immediately after a cardio pulmonary arrest ensues?

Expert Witness Response E-006049

For patients with cardiac arrest, survival rates and neurologic outcomes are poor, though early appropriate resuscitation, involving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), early defibrillation, and appropriate implementation of post–cardiac arrest care leads to improved survival and neurologic outcomes. Targeted education and training regarding treatment of cardiac arrest directed at emergency medical service (EMS) professionals, as well as the public, have significantly increased cardiac arrest survival rates.

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