Painter Law Firm files suit for family against Heartland Health Care Center at Willowbrook and Hunaid Dollar, M.D.
Nurses and doctor do not act on signs of a serious systemic infection
Painter Law Firm filed a lawsuit in Houston, Texas against Heartland Health Care Center at Willowbrook and Hunaid Dollar, M.D., on behalf of the family of Joy Robinson.
In December 2009, 63 year old Joy Robinson went to Heartland Health Care Center at Willowbrook for rehabilitation following a hospitalization at Tomball Regional Medical Center. Her goal was to return home. Mrs. Robinson’s doctor at Heartland Health Care Center at Willowbrook was Hunaid Dollar, M.D.
During her admission to Heartland Health Care Center at Willowbrook Mrs. Robinson developed a serious and painful urinary tract infection, but Dr. Dollar took days before ordering antibiotics to treat it.
Over the course of her admission at Heartland Health Care Center at Willowbrook, Mrs. Robinson started showing signs and symptoms of a systemic infection, including complaints of pain, confusion and altered mental status. Neither the nursing staff nor Dr. Dollar addressed these dangerous findings.
The poor care continued when, on March 27, 2010, Mrs. Robinson fell and hit her head. Although the nurses informed Dr. Dollar, he decided not to send her out for a head scan or further evaluation. The nurses did not appeal Dr. Dollar’s inappropriate inaction to the chain of command, to get Mrs. Robinson the care she needed.
Despite Mrs. Robinson’s fragile health status, Dr. Dollar and Heartland Health Care Center at Willowbrook proceeded to discharge her to home on April 2, 2010. Within hours of getting her home, Mrs. Robinson collapsed and her family rushed her to Conroe Regional Medical Center.
Mrs. Robinson died a few days later, with urosepsis (a serious infection) and a subdural hematoma (damage to her brain from the fall), among other findings.
This case shows the importance of doctors and nurses recognizing and treating complaints of pain and a change in mental status, which is one of the earliest indicators of a serious problem. And, of course, any time a patient falls and hits his or her head, the patient should always be sent for imaging to see if there is bleeding or swelling of the brain. In Dr. Dollar and the nurses had acted appropriately, Mrs. Robinson would not have experienced such a painful and premature end to her life.
Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.
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Published in the July/August 2018 edition of "The Houston Lawyer" magazine