July 14, 2017
Tracy Prewitt and Chad J. Bradford successfully defended a Family Nurse Practitioner in Clark Circuit Court in Jeffersonville, Indiana, against allegations of medical malpractice.
The defendant nurse practitioner provided the patient with samples of an antibiotic medication to treat a urinary tract infection due to a reported inability to pay for additional prescriptions. This antibiotic was switched when the patient reported diarrhea from her original antibiotic at her follow-up appointment. The following day, she collapsed at home and was transported to the hospital where she was diagnosed with clostridium difficile colitis. She died the day after that. Autopsy revealed evidence of the colitis and a previously undiagnosed pelvic abscess resulting from a ruptured diverticula. Plaintiff claimed that the clostridium difficile colitis was caused because the defendant nurse practitioner misdiagnosed the patient’s condition, provided an antibiotic when one was not needed and gave an improper dose of the antibiotic as well. Plaintiff contended that the sole cause of the patient’s death was the clostridium difficile colitis. Plaintiff produced expert testimony from a geriatrics physician and family nurse practitioner. The defense introduced testimony from two members of the medical review panel, which had unanimously determined that the conduct was appropriate, as well as an expert family nurse practitioner. The defense argued that the patient had a positive urinalysis and urinary incontinence which required antibiotic treatment, that the broad-spectrum antibiotic was FDA-approved for the treatment of UTI and was dosed reasonably under the circumstances.
The case was tried over four days after which time a unanimous verdict was returned in favor of the defendant nurse practitioner.