Patient suing Carroll Hospital Center

October 13, 2005|By JENNIFER MCMENAMIN | JENNIFER MCMENAMIN,SUN REPORTER

Jennifer Daniels expected to be at Carroll Hospital Center for only a few hours after being admitted in July for emergency outpatient gallbladder surgery.

But her hospital stay stretched to four days and, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court, turned life-threatening after a nurse allegedly administered intravenous insulin instead of the antibiotics that Daniels' doctor had prescribed in the hours before her operation.

The lawsuit filed by the 31-year-old Owings Mills woman seeks not only financial compensation for her experience but also an end to the $12,000 in medical bills that Daniels' lawyer says the hospital continues to try to collect for the resulting tests, cardiac evaluation and critical-care stay.

"They're making her pay for someone else's mistake," lawyer David Ellin said. "She was supposed to be in and out of there. But she had to be admitted to the critical-care unit after she lapsed into unconsciousness. They had to bring in a cardiologist from outside the hospital to examine her at the behest of her surgeon. They should not be billing this woman."

In a written statement, Teresa Fletcher, a spokeswoman for Carroll Hospital Center, characterized the incident as "an unfortunate medication error that had no lasting consequences for the patient."

She said the hospital regrets the error and accepted responsibility by offering a "fair cash settlement commensurate with Ms. Daniels' inconvenience" and waiving hospitalization charges.

Ellin said that is not the case, offering copies of his client's medical bills for $12,293.44. Noting that Daniels continues to suffer nightmares and migraines that she did not experience before her hospital stay, the lawyer said he will ask a jury to award Daniels $500,000 on top of the cost of her bills.

Daniels, an administrative assistant with an advertising business, said yesterday of her July 24 visit to the Carroll County emergency room: "What scared me most was when they told me I was in critical care. ... I wondered why I was in critical care and I still hadn't had the surgery yet."

jennifer.mcmenamin@baltsun .com

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