Kentucky Man Dies When Doctor and Nurses Miss Kidney Failure Diagnosis

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A middle-aged man went to a Kentucky hospital for routine monitoring of an aneurysm. As part of his care, he had a CT scan with contrast dye.

What happened next caused his death.

Medical Team Misses Kidney Failure Signs at Least 32 Times

After the man’s CT scan, he began experiencing signs and symptoms of kidney failure, such as:

  • Swelling in his lower extremities
  • Reduced urine output
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea

Over the next few days, these symptoms worsened, but the nurses failed to report the symptoms to the doctor.

The doctor, however, checked in on the patient several times while the patient was hospitalized. During the doctor’s visits after the CT scan with contrast, the man told the doctor that he wasn’t feeling well and that he had back pain, which is another symptom of kidney failure. Yet the doctor did not order any follow-up testing, and he did not review the nurses’ notes, which included symptoms of kidney failure.

On the fourth day of hospitalization, the patient was being prepared for discharge when his blood pressure began to increase. When he sat up in bed, his blood pressure crashed, and he coded. The rapid response team was called and a code was initiated. Despite their attempts to save him, he died of kidney failure—a condition that was undiagnosed before his death.

Our legal team thoroughly reviewed the man’s medical records and found more than 32 separate instances where signs and symptoms of kidney failure were present. The records showed a slow but steady increase in the severity of symptoms. Given the way the symptoms progressed, the patient’s kidney failure would likely have been highly responsive to treatment that would have reversed the damage done by the contrast dye.

This was not the first time this patient had an adverse reaction to the contrast dye used during a CT scan. This patient had shown clear signs and symptoms of kidney failure in the hours immediately after receiving CT scans with contrast dye on previous occasions. According to our experts, this fact alone should have alerted his medical team to the need to investigate kidney function and take precautionary measures when contrast dye was used. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

Legal Recovery Helps Wife, Children, and Future Patients

The experienced medical malpractice lawyers of Gray and White Law represented this patient’s family.

After a year of litigation, the case settled on the morning of trial. The family recovered the full insurance limits of the physician’s malpractice policy and a confidential settlement from the hospital. These settlements will allow the patient’s wife and young children to continue to live in the family home, and the settlement money will provide for the wife and children for many years to come.

Additionally, our legal team hopes that the hospital will re-train its nursing staff on the importance of monitoring kidney function whenever a contrast dye is used, and we hope that the doctor will take the time to consider the full picture of a patient’s health and not rush through examinations in the future.

If your loved one died because of medical negligence, we encourage you to read our free articles, How to Understand What Killed Your Loved One If You’re Not a Doctor, and 7 Things That Could Happen if You File a Kentucky Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Case, and to contact us as soon as possible for a free, no-obligation consultation.