Untreated staph infection subject of Madison County med mal suit

Steve Gonzalez Nov. 13, 2007, 7:52am

The estate of Jeffrey Monroe filed a wrongful death suit against Alton Memorial Hospital, Christopher Cruz, M.D. and John Wuellner, M.D. in Madison County Circuit Court Nov. 6, alleging the defendants failed to treat him for a staph infection which led to his death.

According to the complaint, Monroe went to the Alton Memorial emergency room on Oct. 16, 2006, complaining of chest pain, high temperature, stiff neck, headache and cough all of which he had had for the previous 24 hours.

The estate, represented by Jeffrey's wife, Sandra Monroe, claims Jeffrey Monroe also informed the nurse of an injury on his scalp that he sustained at work when he hit his head on an exposed bolt.

According to the complaint, Dr. Cruz was informed that Monroe was diabetic. Cruz performed blood cultures and then diagnosed Monroe with the flu and pneumonia and prescribed antibiotics and painkillers and informed him to see his primary doctor if not improved in the next three days.

Sandra Monroe claims after her husband was discharged, the blood cultures revealed that Jeffrey had a staph infection and that the hospital faxed the results to Dr. Wuellner but he did not inform Monroe that he needed additional care.

The suit claims that on Oct. 18, 2006, Monroe was still not feeling any better and returned to the hospital where radiological studies showed blood clots in his lungs and he was in respiratory failure and septic shock with advanced bacteremia.

According to the complaint, Alton Memorial moved him to an ICU room until space became available at any St. Louis hospital.

Sandra Monroe claims by the time doctors discovered the blood culture results her husband's infection had gone undiagnosed and untreated and progressed to a very severe and untreatable stage causing his death on Oct. 21, 2006.

She claims the defendants failed to admit her husband to the hospital on Oct. 16, 2006, even though he showed signs of a severe infection, failed to contact him after the results of the cultures, failed to treat him for staph infection after receiving the results from the culture and failed to timely admit him to the ICU.

Sandra claims she and her children have forever lost the love, services, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training and support of Jeffrey.

She also claims her husband suffered pain and anguish prior to his death.

Represented by Jeffrey Lowe of St. Louis, the estate is seeking damages in excess of $150,000, plus costs of the suit.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron.

07 L 962

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