LARGO, Fla. – A diabetic woman who suffered a kidney stone and ultimately lost her arms and legs has filed suit against a major hospital system and a laundry list of physicians and clinics.
Her case renders a detailed scenario of alleged collective incompetence that occurred as she succumbed to progressing sepsis and other life-threatening and organ-damaging conditions.
Rizaya Etheridge, who could not be reached for comment, has sued Largo Medical Center and its parent company HCA Healthcare, Suncoast Chest Physicians, Rana Kanaan, M.D., Polmed (a walk-in clinic), Robert Kaszuba, M.D., the clinic’s physician, Sunbeam Point Emergency Physicians, FL-I Medical Services and Carly M. Snyder, D.O.
Etheridge drove herself to the emergency department of Largo Medical Center on January 20, 2018, to address a stone in the ureter of her right kidney.
The lawsuit states, “What was supposed to be a simple and routine treatment for removing a stone turned into months of avoidable hospital admissions with catastrophic and life-changing consequences due to totally improper care and treatment.” It accuses the medical center of not observing all the red flags that existed to indicate Etheridge needed emergent treatment. As a result, Etheridge was hospitalized through mid-March.
The case declares Largo Medical Center deviated from professional standards which ultimately led to or did not timely resolve Etheridge’s worsening and severe SIRS/sepsis, hypotension, thrombocytopenia, septic shock, multi-organ system dysfunction and failure, acute renal failure, acute respiratory failure with hypoxia, acute metabolic acidosis, severe encephalopathy, seizures, ischemia, hypoalbuminemia, and cyanosis/gangrene/necrosis in all of Etheridge’s extremities, requiring amputations of all her limbs.
Etheridge was admitted to the hospital’s Med/Surg/Telemetry unit from the emergency room with notations from ER that she suffered from a kidney stone, urinary tract infection, and, acute kidney injury. The lawsuit blames predominantly one hospital nurse for not recording critical information on Etheridge’s declining health, once she was admitted, which would have prompted attendance and treatments by various physicians.
For example, although there were clear signs of sepsis – a life-threatening inflammatory reaction to an infection that can readily cause damage to organs, the nurse did not write up the condition or newly discovered organ dysfunction. In another example, the same nurse did not check off cardiovascular dysfunction for Etheridge, which consisted of tachycardia, which caused her heart to race at 141 beats per minute.
According to the lawsuit, the hospital nurse never recognized Etheridge’s clear case of sepsis and never contacted a physician regarding it. It also claims necessary lab tests and treatments were not requested or performed, or medications ordered were not recorded as administered. During Etheridge’s stay in the Emergency Room, the case claims no urological surgeon or interventional radiology consult was ordered to evaluate, diagnose and treat her known conditions.
Blood tests were not conducted prior to administering a certain antibiotic, yet other antibiotics that would have aided recovery from sepsis were not considered. Emergency room lab results allegedly showed Etheridge was likely suffering from sepsis, but it was not officially recognized by Emergency Room healthcare professionals.
The defendants have denied the case’s claims and suggested after a pre-suit investigation that the parties undergo voluntary arbitration. Etheridge refused the offer. She was purportedly a healthy, independent, 55-year-old woman when she drove to the hospital for help.