Plaintiff says she was given strep-tainted IV
By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- A woman claims she acquired a rare blood infection while a patient at Winchester Medical Center in 2010.
A medical malpractice lawsuit filed late last month accuses nurses and health care providers of negligence by giving the patient "an IV tainted with streptococcus pyogenes" -- bacteria commonly associated with strep throat.
Leesburg attorney Barbara S. Williams filed the complaint in Winchester Circuit Court on behalf of the plaintiff, Barbara Stanford. The plaintiff seeks $800,000 in damages or any greater amount as determined at a jury trial, according to the complaint. The lawsuit identifies the hospital and Valley Health as defendants, neither of whom had responded to the complaint as of Friday.
Stanford went to Winchester Medical Center beginning March 28 for complaints related to a partial bowel obstruction and underwent the placement of an intravenous catheter in her left arm, according to the complaint. During her stay at the hospital, nurses and other medical staff administered fluids to the patient via the IV site, the complaint states. Staff removed Stanford's IV on March 31, 2010 and the patient was discharged from the hospital.
"Following the removal of the IV catheter at WMC, Plaintiff's arm became severely red, tender, and swollen at her IV site, and she was readmitted to the hospital on April 2, 2010," the complaint states. "Blood cultures taken from the Plaintiff revealed that the Plaintiff's blood was positive for streptococcus pyrogenes.
"Streptococcus pyogenes is extraordinarily rare when it occurs as a blood infection," the complaint continues. "At no time in the any relevant time period to her admission nor following her discharge did the Plaintiff have streptococcus pyogenes located in her throat ('strep throat')."
Stanford's treating physician diagnosed the patient with septic thrombo-phlebitis and metastic septic arthritis of her right knee.
The complaint identifies hospital workers who "handled, flushed, injected fluids into, or otherwise specifically acted in some way upon the Plaintiff's IV site which became infected during her stay at the Winchester Medical Center between March 28 and March 31, 2010." The complaint names Tonya Neff, Courtney Michael, Jennifer Bostrom, Samantha Hibbs, Pamela Shingleton as well as an unidentified radiographic technician who injected contrast into the patient's IV in order to perform a CT scan. Stacy Davis, Dustan Maher-Felton, Katelyn Crawley, Doddie Ritter, Naomi Boggess, Vicki Curry, Mandy Ricketts, Kathy Hart, Ginny Cooper, Kristi Martinez, Linda Lee Pindell, Lori Haines, Regina Wymer and Angela Dezzutti are identified as health care providers in the complaint.
"Due to the infection in her blood acquired at the Winchester Medical Center, the Plaintiff underwent, among other procedures, a right knee aspiration and washout, a venectomy of her cephalic vein from her shoulder to below her antecubital fossa, as well as the placement of a subclavian catheter for long-term antibiotic infusion," the complaint states.
The first count of the malpractice suit claims the hospital owed a duty to provide the plaintiff with "clean, bacteria free medical equipment, such as IV needles, catheters, and medications," as well as "a clean environment where simple procedures ... may take place without unreasonable risk of an easily avoidable infection." The complaint claims the hospital breached the standard of care by providing the plaintiff with an IV tainted with streptococcus pyogenes, failing to ensure proper infectious disease controls were implemented, enforced and adhered to, nor made sure employees involved in the patient's care wore gloves, masks or washed their hands.