On 2/6/2013 a patient’s father contacted EMS (emergency medical services) because his son had respiratory distress, fever, and an elevated heart rate.
EMS documented a heart rate of 278 and performed a pre-hospital EKG because ventricular tachycardia (VTach) was a concern. EMS contacted the hospital to report vital signs and their impression of VTach.
The patient presented to the emergency department at 11:29 p.m. The patient was triaged at 11:42 p.m. and a pulse of 245, blood pressure of 53/39, and a temperature of 101.02 were recorded. An EKG was performed at 11:43 p.m. The results were shown to the ED physician at 11:47 p.m.
The ED physician’s notes state that at 12:13 a.m. the patient was examined. It was documented that the ED physician suspected the patient was in VTach, but no therapy was administered.
The ED physician then contacted the on-call cardiologist, who advised the ED physician to treat the patient for probable sepsis with fluids and Tylenol. The ED physician then ordered IV antibiotics and spoke to a critical care physician about transfer of the patient.
At 12:29 a.m. the patient had a ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrest. He was treated with various medications but no shock was given. At 12:45 a.m. the patient was pronounced dead.
The Board concluded that the ED physician be reprimanded, complete 15 hours of continuing education on Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and pay a fine of $1000.
Date: September 2017
Diagnosis: Cardiac Arrhythmia
Significant Outcome: Death
Case Rating: 3
Link to Original Case File: Download PDF
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