During the early morning of July 4, 2007, Michael Enriquez went to the emergency room of a local hospital complaining of nausea, vomiting, loose stool and severe stomach pain for two days. After being forced to sign an admission form which indicated that most of the doctors that would treat him were not employees of the hospital, he was taken into the emergency room. A CT Scan taken subsequently confirmed that he was suffering from a high grade small bowel obstruction.
Mr. Enriquez was admitted by the attending physician who requested an urgent surgical evaluation. Within a couple of hours, Michael began running a temperature and his heart rate began to increase.
By 6:00 p.m. when the surgeon saw Michael, his heart rate was at 145 and his blood pressure began to drop. Instead of electing to operate the night of July 4, the surgeon ordered a series of tests. Michael was then admitted to the ICU unit.
While in the ICU unit, Michael’s condition began to quickly deteriorate overnight. By 2:00 a.m., Michael’s heart rate was in the 170s and his blood pressure had dropped to 90/70. He also had a fever. The nurse tried calling the attending physician who did not return calls because his paging system was not working. Unfortunately, the nurse failed to reach out to the surgeon. By the time the sun rose, Michael was suffering from septic shock and was rushed to surgery where an exploratory laparotomy was performed. Multiple adhesions and a kink in the small bowel was discovered and relieved.
Although Michael’s condition initially began to improve, his heart rate began to increase and his blood pressure began to decrease shortly thereafter. As a result of all the fluids that Michael received the night before because of his low blood pressure the night before, he had developed abdominal compartment syndrome. Abdominal compartment syndrome occurs when the abdomen is subject to increased pressure. It is incredibly dangerous and can be life threatening. Consequently, later that evening he was rushed for another surgery. By this time, Michael’s bowels were so swollen that the surgeon could not close his abdomen. When the surgery was concluded his bowels remained exposed.
Michael’s wife was told to prepare for the worse as his condition continued to deteriorate. Eventually, Michael was stabilized and transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital where over the course of several months his health began to improve.
Today, Michael is healthy and able to enjoy the company of his wife and two children. This doesn’t take away from the fact that Michael was unable to work for two years and spent approximately six months after this ordeal in the hospital.
A local attorney contacted David Sampedro to see if he could help Michael. After contacting a board certified surgeon, suit was filed. After approximately two years of litigation, the case was resolved at mediation for the sum of $1,000.000.00. Hopefully this settlement will help Michael and his family pay for his medical bills and get him out of the economic hole this medical neglect caused.
The names of the parties have been changed to protect their identity as a result of a confidentiality agreement.