On July 14, 2002, the decedent suffered from an allergic reaction and developed anaphylaxis. She was driven by her husband to the Provena Immediate Care Center where she presented to the physician in sever anaphylactic shock. Upon arrival, the decedent was unconscious and in the front seat of the car.
The decedent's husband ran into the Care Center and stated that his wife was having an allergic reaction. The physician and a nurse ran outside to the vehicle where they found the decedent in severe respiratory distress with excessive secretions. She was breathing spontaneously and making no sounds. A carotid pulse was present, and she was hypotensive.
After conducting his initial evaluation, the physician put in an oral airway and started to ventilate the decedent with an ambu-bag while she was in the car. Subsequently, a police officer arrived with an oxygen tank and an ambulance and fire truck arrived thereafter.
The decedent was placed in the ambulance. The physician offered to intubate the decedent, which was denied. After attempting intubation, the ambulance crew transferred the decedent to the hospital emergency room.
The decedent suffered irreversible brain damage and survived in a comatose state for 2 1/2 years until her death. The decedent's husband sued numerous physicians, the ambulance and fire service and the hospital for professional malpractice.
With respect to the physician, the decedent's husband argued that the physician failed to bring the decedent into the Care Center for immediate airway management; failed to supervise and ensure the decedent's airway was properly managed; and failed to ensure that the decedent's airway was intubated prior to her transfer to the emergency room.
The case was sited in federal court based upon plaintiff's allegations that the purported deviations of the standard of care violated the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA).
The defense argued that the physician's care and treatment of the decedent complied with the standard of care and the EMTALA.
The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant physician and against the plaintiff.