An Athens-Clarke County medical facility was recently hit with a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice.
Truong Vang recently decided to team up with Bell Law Firm to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against St. Mary’s Health Care System in Athens-Clarke County. Why? Well, according to the suit, “health care professionals working at St. Mary’s facility failed to remove sutures” on Vang’s now-deceased wife, Kang Moua, to decompress a hematoma in 2019. As a result, she suffered anoxic brain damage and died, leaving behind her husband and two daughters.
Mrs. Moua was 38-years-old at the time of her death. Before the fatal medical incident, she had her “thyroid surgically removed by Dr. Blake Kimbrell in 2019 because of papillary thyroid carcinoma.” Shortly after the surgery, she began complaining about swelling in her neck. Eventually, the swelling became so bad that she could not breathe. As a result, one of her nurses from St. Mary’s surgical floor contacted Dr. Byron Norris, the ENT physician on call. According to the suit, Dr. Norris “suspected a hematoma or large blood clot had developed after surgery that was compressing Mrs. Moua’s windpipe.” On his drive to the hospital, he “ordered the neck sutures be removed to release pressure on the airway and restore Mrs. Moua’s breathing.”
While waiting for Dr. Norris to arrive, Dr. Troy Johnson, the on-duty ER physician, stepped in to treat Mrs. Moua. Instead of removing the sutures, though, Dr. Johnson “attempted intubation.” It turns out, the nurse that spoke to Dr. Norris failed to relay his order to Dr. Johnson to remove the sutures. When Dr. Norris finally arrived, “he immediately removed the sutures and restored her airway with an emergency tracheotomy.” Unfortunately, by then Mrs. Moua “had been without oxygen for too long,” according to the suit. She ended up suffering anoxic brain damage and passed away.
When commenting on the case, Lloyd Bell of Bell Law Firm said:
“This case underscores the vital importance of effective communication between healthcare professionals. The standard of care required the nurse who spoke to Dr. Norris either personally to remove the sutures on Mrs. Moua’s neck or to notify the attending physician of the order. If the health care professionals had simply done their job and removed the sutures, Mrs. Moua’s airway would have been restored and she would have been fine. But the health care professionals didn’t communicate with each other, and Mrs. Moua suffered the consequences.”
At the moment, Mr. Vang is seeking damages for his wife’s wrongful death, “her conscious pain and suffering and the full economic loss their family has suffered,” according to the suit.