The Florida Times-Union is reporting today on the case of Jean Law, a nurse on staff at Baptist Medical Center-South in Jacksonville, Fla. who contracted a bacterial infection and had to have both legs and eight fingers amputated because staff at the facility allegedly failed to diagnose her septic condition quickly enough. Times-Union writer Steve Patterson quotes Thomas Edwards, one of Law's attorneys, and reports, "A complaint has been filed with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, and a malpractice lawsuit is planned once a 90-day notice period to the hospital has expired."
Jean Law is being represented by attorneys at Edwards & Ragatz, which posted the following information on its Web site: "A local 39-year-old mother of two lost both legs, all of her fingers on both hands and suffered disfiguring injuries to her face. Jean Law can no longer live any part of the life she had before she sought treatment this past February from the ER at Baptist Hospital South. She suffered a high fever, chills, nausea, pain and difficulty in walking, common symtoms of sepsis that went undiagnosed. Jean Law knew her symptoms were serious she had been a nurse with Baptist Hospitals for 17 years and on duty at Baptist South for the past five years. Her temperature, was at the dangerously high level of 104.6. This and her other symptoms are consistent with serious bacterial infection. Although the ER treating Doctor ordered blood and urine tests, after approximately five hours, he diagnosed a viral flu, prescribed Motrin and discharged Law to go home. Doctors notes from this interaction state, "serious causes have been ruled out, and there is no indication that she needs antibiotics." Because of his diagnosis, Law was neither admitted to the hospital nor treated with any type of antibiotic treatment. Law and her husband Jonathan were surprised and confused. As a nurse, she had expected to be admitted to Baptist South. However, the Laws returned home to a prescribed regimen of rest and Motrin. Within hours, Laws condition had deteriorated to an alarming level. Her original symptoms had worsened; they were now coupled with burning in her feet, discoloration of her lips and fingernails. She was extremely lethargic and could not walk; her husband had to carry her to the car for a return visit to the ER at Baptist South. Lab cultures taken earlier that day revealed that Law was suffering from a strep infection and that her blood was septic an extremely serious condition in which the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria. Left untreated, sepsis leads to catastrophic injury and death. Upon her second presentation at the ER, it was found that Laws liver function was shutting down and that her blood pressure had dropped to dangerously low levels. Law was admitted to the hospital and within a week, her extremities turned black and became necrotic."
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