Potential Pediatric Nursing Negligence Leads to Patient Death

This case study examines a tragic incident involving an adolescent with obesity who died from acute pneumonia due to influenza B after his symptoms were allegedly neglected by the on-duty nurse at an academy for troubled youths.

ByWendy Ketner, M.D.


Published on February 21, 2024

Nurse with Patient

Case Overview

This case study examines a tragic incident involving an adolescent with a past medical history of obesity. The individual was enrolled at an academy for troubled youths when they began to feel unwell one night in February. Despite presenting symptoms such as subjective fever and productive cough, the registered nurse (RN) on duty allegedly did not take significant action.

The patient's condition rapidly deteriorated within an hour after being sent back to bed, resulting in unresponsiveness and ultimately death the following day. The cause of death was listed as acute pneumonia due to influenza B. This case raises serious questions about the standard of care provided by the pediatric nurse and whether appropriate steps were taken in response to the patient's complaints.

Questions to the Nursing expert and their responses


Can you describe your experience evaluating and treating similar patients for similar complaints?

As a pediatric RN with over a decade of experience working in both ICU and acute care areas at a pediatric hospital, I have encountered numerous instances where patients experienced an unexpected, rapid decline in their health status.


What steps should have been taken in response to his complaints on that night in February, if any?

In my professional opinion, some immediate steps that should have been taken include measuring the patient's temperature and vital signs at the very least. Given his symptoms, he could have also been referred to urgent care for a rapid flu swab and physical assessment. There may have been other signs indicating a more severe illness that required immediate attention.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

While I cannot disclose specific details due to confidentiality, I have reviewed and provided expert opinions on similar cases involving pediatric patients and the standard of care.

About the expert

This expert is a seasoned professional in the nursing field, with over 15 years of experience and a specialization in foot care and wound ostomy continence. They hold a BA and BSN from a reputable university and are currently licensed as a registered nurse in their state. Their extensive career includes roles such as neuroscience ICU staff nurse, hospice nurse case manager, CVICU staff nurse at a children's hospital, and presently serving as a wound ostomy continence nurse at another children's hospital. This expert's qualifications are further enhanced by certifications in foot care nursing and wound ostomy continence nursing, along with active memberships in relevant professional associations.

Expert headshot



About the author

Wendy Ketner, M.D.

Wendy Ketner, M.D.

Dr. Wendy Ketner is a distinguished medical professional with a comprehensive background in surgery and medical research. Currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at the Expert Institute, she plays a pivotal role in overseeing the organization's most important client relationships. Dr. Ketner's extensive surgical training was completed at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, where she gained hands-on experience in various general surgery procedures, including hernia repairs, cholecystectomies, appendectomies, mastectomies for breast cancer, breast reconstruction, surgical oncology, vascular surgery, and colorectal surgery. She also provided care in the surgical intensive care unit.

Her research interests have focused on post-mastectomy reconstruction and the surgical treatment of gastric cancer, including co-authoring a textbook chapter on the subject. Additionally, she has contributed to research on the percutaneous delivery of stem cells following myocardial infarction.

Dr. Ketner's educational background includes a Bachelor's degree from Yale University in Latin American Studies and a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. Moreover, she is a member of the Board of Advisors for Opollo Technologies, a fintech healthcare AI company, contributing her medical expertise to enhance healthcare technology solutions. Her role at Expert Institute involves leveraging her medical knowledge to provide insights into legal cases, underscoring her unique blend of medical and legal acumen.

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