Healthcare News & Insights

Nurse sues employer after missed infection leads to amputations

A missed bacterial infection led to sepsis in an experienced nurse — and the amputation of her nose, both legs and most of her fingers. Up next: A major lawsuit.

Jean Law was a staff nurse at Baptist Medical Center South in Jacksonville, Florida. One morning last February, she went to the hospital’s emergency department complaining of body aches and a racing pulse. She also had low blood pressure and 104-degree fever.

According to her lawyers, despite what appears in hindsight to be an obvious case of infection, Law was sent home after her initial exam and given only painkillers. Her medical records from the visit indicate “no indication that she needs antibiotics.” Later that afternoon, she was called and told to return to the hospital immediately, because tests indicated she had a strep infection.

Within the week, she had lost eight of her fingers, part of her nose and both legs below the knee.

She’s suing her former employer for unspecified damages, claiming a series of mistakes in the ER cost her precious hours when earlier treatment might have made a difference.

For its part, Baptist disputes Law’s claims. A hospital spokesperson said the hospital provided “timely, appropriate and compassionate care and that the care she received saved her life.”

We’ll see what the courts say.

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