A South Bay family is claiming that a four hour delay before an emergency surgery lead to the death of a loved one.

According to the lawsuit as well as family member interviews, the man who passed away was experiencing severe pain when he arrived at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista in November 2016.

Given his history of abdominal disease and ulcers, a doctor confirmed that the man had a puncture in his small bowel. As a result, it was made clear that he required emergency surgery to take care of the problem.

It was then that the emergency room department contacted the on-call surgeon, with the physician indicating he would arrive at the hospital as soon as he could to perform the necessary procedure.

However, despite attempts to reach the surgeon for several hours, the doctor did not arrive on time. Instead, it took four hours for the procedure to begin. By then, the man was in septic shock.

Although the surgery took place, the patient passed away the next morning. The cause of death was listed as a small bowel obstruction, septic shock and respiratory failure. The family believes that if the surgery were performed on the time their loved one would have made a recovery.

The lawsuit, filed by the family in late 2017, seeks damages for negligence, medical malpractice and other mistakes. The surgeon, Scripps Health and Scripps Mercy Physician Partners are all listed as defendants.

In a story like this, it’s easy to see that time is of the essence when it comes to treating a serious medical problem. When doctors fail to treat or diagnose, that could be medical malpractice.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, “South Bay Family Blames Hospital, Surgeon for Loved One’s Death,” Paul Krueger, Dec. 29, 2017