This weekend we posted a story discussing the shocking medical mistakes made by many inexperienced resident doctors. One of the tragic examples profiled in that story involved the death of a young man at a Chicago teaching facility-Weiss Memorial Hospital. Our malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti are currently representing the victim’s family in its efforts to seek justice following the death of their son.
Devron Matthews was only 19 when he was rushed to the hospital with serious medical problems including pneumonia, sepsis, fever, and respiratory distress. A young resident doctor only two months out of school was sent to monitor the young man’s condition and provide the necessary care. On top of being an inexperienced new doctor, the young resident didn’t even have access to Devron’s medical chart nor could he contact the attending physician.
A brief interaction with Devron made clear the need for emergency medical care. The young patient was short of oxygen and was in need of a new blood gas test. The resident went to contact an experienced doctor but repeated pages and phone calls went unanswered. A voicemail could not even be left, because the doctor’s inbox was full.
As soon as the resident doctor returned to the Devron’s room following his failed attempt to contact a supervisor, the young victim “coded blue”-a medical term indicating cardiac arrest and need of immediate resuscitation. The resident doctor began resuscitation, even though he had never before participated in a “code blue.”
The lack of oxygen to Devron’s brain ultimately lead to a devastating brain injury, and he died a few months after the incident.
Without question there were severe breakdowns in the care at Weiss Memorial Hospital that caused an inexperienced resident to perform emergency actions without access to a medical chart while the attending physician was nowhere to be found. Supervision and training problems led to the error which ultimately claimed the life of a 19-year old young man.
In a pre-trial deposition with the resident doctor involved, one of our firm founders, Steve Levin, asked the doctor about the training he received regarding the situation that developed with Devron. He asked, “Did anybody that you were working with at Weiss or in your residency program, in any way, shape, or form, try to teach you something about what should or should not have happened?
The resident admitted, “No.”