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Case: Scott McGrath vs. Kendall Regional Medical Center

Case No.: 10-48628-CA-01

Description: Medical negligence.

Filing dates: September 7, 2010

Settlement date: February 15, 2012

Settlement amount: Confidential

Judge: Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Victoria Platzer

Plaintiff attorney: Ronald Rodman and Estefania Baird, Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A., Miami, Florida ; Pamela Beckham and Robert Beckham, Beckham & Beckham, P.A., North Miami Beach, Florida

Defense attorney: Scott Solomon and Glenn Falk, Falk, Waas, Hernandez, Coral Gabes, Florida

Details: Scott McGrath, a twenty-six (26) year old non-verbal autistic was brought to Kendall Regional Medical Center on July 8, 2008 having suffered a severe aspiration pneumonia which resulted in a respiratory arrest. Upon arrival at Kendall Regional Medical Center Mr. McGrath was intubated and admitted to the ICU where he remained intubated until the afternoon of July 13, 2008. Following five (5) days of improvement the decision was made to extubate Mr. McGrath by his treating pulmonologist. Despite fluctuating vital signs over a period of approximately thirteen (13) hours post extubation, the intensive care unit nursing staff failed to contact the on duty intensivist, attending physician, or pulmonologist regarding these changes in condition. At approximately 4:00 a.m. on July 14, 2008 Scott McGrath coded sustaining a respiratory/cardiac arrest. Mr. McGrath remains in a vegetative state to date as a result of the hypoxic event.

Plaintiff case: A lawsuit was brought on behalf of Scott McGrath by his mother as guardian based on negligent nursing care and treatment received in the ICU. Plaintiff’s attorneys argued that Mr. McGrath’s condition post extubation required notification and intervention by a physician. Plaintiff’s discovery revealed that the hospital maintains an intensivist twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days per week, located approximately thirty (30) feet from Plaintiff, McGrath’s room. It was further Plaintiff’s contention that a re-intubation was necessary and there was no reason why Plaintiff would not have been able to return to his pre-morbid state had he received timely medical treatment and care.

Defense case: Defense argued that appropriate nursing intervention occurred during the thirteen (13) hour period post extubation and that the Plaintiff’s hypoxia was the result of his aspiration pneumonia at home and the failure to obtain timely medical care. The Defendants further claimed that despite the order for extubation in all likelihood Mr. McGrath would never have completed a successful extubation after being admitted into ICU.

Comments: “Our hope is that this unfortunate incident creates a higher awareness amongst hospital staff of the importance of ICU patient care, and helps to protect those who need it the most.”

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