In March 2013, a man was admitted to the University of Maryland Medical System due to kidney problems. While in the hospital, his potassium levels became high and his doctors prescribed Kayexalate.
Kayexalate pulls potassium from the patient's blood and moves it to the colon. A bowel movement then releases the excess potassium out of the body. The man's wife noticed he had blood in his stool after taking the drug. This was several hours before the medical staff ran tests and determined the there was something wrong with the man's colon.
When the man went into surgery, his family members believed that part of his colon had to be removed. After surgery, they learned that surgeons had to remove the man's entire colon. The next day, the man died.
In 2015, the family sued the health care system, saying that the doctor who prescribed Kayexalate was not aware of the complications the drug can cause. The family's lawyer told the court that dialysis could have been used to reverse the high level of potassium and it would have been much safer.
The University of Maryland Medical System issued a statement after the jury awarded the man's family $10 million. That statement said that the medical system plans to file an appeal in the case.
When the wrong drug is prescribed to a patient, there can be tragic results. Medical malpractice cases are complex and require medical experts to detail exactly when the standard of care was not met and what could have been done differently to save the patient from serious injury, illness or death.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to medical negligence, you have a right to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages other damages. An experienced attorney can provide you with more information on your legal options.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, "UMMS must pay family $10 million in malpractice suit," Andrea K. McDaniels, Sep. 22, 2016