Bayfront Punta Gorda found not negligent in medical malpractice case

A Charlotte County jury has decided a medical malpractice case in favor of Bayfront Health Punta Gorda.

PUNTA GORDA — A Charlotte County jury decided a medical malpractice case in favor of Bayfront Health Punta Gorda last week, denying any wrongdoing on the part of the hospital.

The case involved an unsuccessful PICC, or Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, line that a nurse attempted to place in the arm of patient Patrick Andrews on July 12, 2016. The nurse failed to place the PICC line in a vein, instead puncturing Andrews’s artery, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint stated the failed attempt was documented, and the nurse wrote in the notes she had placed an ice pack on Andrews’s right upper extremity because of swelling. She also wrote that she spoke to a junior registered nurse about Andrews needing continued ice packs on his right upper extremity for the next 24 hours.

The injury to Andrews’s artery was not immediately noticed, and he was discharged from the hospital on July 16, according to the suit.

Then, according to the complaint, he was readmitted on July 26 with a right upper extremity pseudo-aneurysm. He had an emergency operation on his right arm, which was successful, but he was left with permanent nerve damage, according to the suit.

Andrews claimed Bayfront was negligent in its care of the failed PICC line placement, stating there should have been a pressure dressing held over the area for a minimum four to six minutes, and then the dressing should have remained in place for 12 to 24 hours.

The complaint claims the nurse “fell below the appropriate standards when she utilized an ice pack for Mr. Andrews’ right upper extremity.”

“She also fell below appropriate standards when she failed to write appropriate orders for further nursing observation and management of Mr. Andrews’ right upper extremity,” the lawsuit stated.

As a result, Andrews incurred medical expenses and will continue to incur them in the future, suffered permanent bodily injury, and is no longer capable of being employed.

However, after listening to testimony since Tuesday, the jury’s verdict Friday was that there was no negligence on the part of Bayfront.

Andrews’s attorney, Patrick Reilly, of Snyder & Reilly in Venice, declined to comment on the verdict Tuesday.

A Bayfront spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Bayfront Health Punta Gorda most recently received a C from the Leapfrog Hospital Safety grades released at the start of November. Leapfrog is a national nonprofit organization that releases hospital safety grades, describing itself as “the nation’s only rating focused entirely on patient safety — preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections.”

Bayfront Punta Gorda maintained its C from the spring. In 2018, it received D’s, and in 2017, it received a D in the spring and a C in the fall.

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