Silver Spring, MD–24-year-old Yesenia Rivera arrived at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital on August 3, 2006 complaining of severe stomach pain—just two days after she first visited the hospital complaining of pain on her left side. In fact, she told the doctors on her return visit that she had just been in the hospital with kidney stones and was sent home with pain medication. However, in on her return visit, doctors failed to remove her kidney blockage and a septic infection went untreated for twelve hours. Ultimately, the infection spread throughout her entire body, requiring doctors to amputate part of one of Yesenia’s legs and her foot. In addition, the tips of her fingers fell off. On Monday, a jury awarded Yesenia and her family $2.35 million in damages—for the doctors’ failure to properly diagnose her in a timely manner.
Yesenia first arrived at the hospital on August 1, 2006, complaining of pain on her left side. Scans did show that she had a kidney stone but she was sent home with pain medication instead of having the blockage removed from her kidneys. Subsequently, Yesenia came back to the hospital on August 3, still complaining of the same pain, only worse. She informed the hospital staff that she had just been to the hospital a few days prior, and about her kidney stones. However, her doctors, Vivrenda K. Saxena and Dawn M. Thorton, decided that she was either suffering from a gallbladder problem or an ectopic pregnancy that had ruptured. Subsequently, Yesenia acquired a septic infection that went untreated for hours before her doctors discovered their error and removed the kidney stone. Eventually gangrene set in and doctors were forced to remove the affected parts of her body. Yesenia spent much of the next six months in the hospital, and then a nursing home to undergo intense physical therapy.
Yesenia now uses prosthetics and is unable to work to support her two children. Her attorneys stated that $190,000 of her award would go towards the payment of past medical bills.