A healthy toddler was admitted to the Toronto area hospital because he was prone to ear infections and his doctor had recommended he have his tonsils and adenoids removed. After the routine procedure involving an anaesthetic, he was taken to the pediatric recovery room.
In the three hours that followed, the nurses failed to monitor and diagnose the boy’s symptoms: his vital signs were elevated throughout, his fluid intake was poor, he was slow to swallow and he was in clear pain. No one acted on any of these alarming signs.
At no point did the nurse call a doctor. Furthermore, a nurse did not examine the boy’s throat after the administration of codeine because it was not the hospital’s policy to do this unless there were signs of bleeding. Despite the fact that codeine was known by the nurses to compromise breathing, and the nurses had noted breathing difficulties in the hours leading up to the boy’s respiratory arrest (which lead to his cardiac arrest), it was continuously administered. The doctor also inappropriately left the dosage of the boy’s codeine medication to the discretion of a nursing assistant. Expecting that abnormal symptoms would be brought to his attention, the doctor never checked the boy again.
Four hours later, the boy was found unconscious and his heart was barely beating. He had gone into respiratory and cardiac arrest. Afterwards, he slipped into a deep coma. He required a ventilator and later developed seizures and had to have a feeding tube inserted. Due to the extraordinary cost of his care, the boy’s parents had no choice but to place the boy in an institution to be cared for around the clock.
Sommers Roth & Elmaleh Professional Corporation has over 40 years of experience in medical malpractice litigation in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario, and across Canada.
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