Summary Judgment awarded in Queens County

HPM&B recently obtained Summary Judgment on behalf of a home infusion company where plaintiff alleged that the nursing staff affiliated with the home infusion company failed to adequately examine the patient, and failed to timely advise the patient’s treating physician that the patient’s laboratory values revealed that the patient was in renal failure.

The patient was initially diagnosed with osteomyelitis as a result of being stepped on by football cleats.  The patient was subsequently treated in a Queens County Hospital, and discharged home on intravenous and oral antibiotics.  The home infusion company was hired to administer the antibiotics, evaluate the patient, and to advise the patient’s treating physicians of any abnormal laboratory results.  Plaintiff alleged that the defendant home infusion company negligently failed to examine the plaintiff, and failed to timely arrange for blood tests to be performed to determine if the patient was suffering from renal failure.  It was further alleged the home infusion company failed to recognize that the patient’s intravenous antibiotics caused renal failure and, as a result, the patient’s renal failure could not be reversed.  The patient eventually suffered a myocardial infarction, a stroke and subsequently died a year later.

In support of the motion to dismiss, HPM&B submitted affidavits from a pharmacy expert and a nephrologist.  These experts opined that the care provided to the decedent was consistent with the standard of care, and that there was no delay in diagnosing renal failure.  Moreover, the nephrology expert opined that the patient’s renal failure was not the result of the intravenous antibiotic as alleged by plaintiff’s counsel, but rather it was a consequence of using a different oral antibiotic based upon a kidney pathology report.  It was further argued that to the extent there was a delay in diagnosing the renal failure that delay was not proximate cause of the patient’s irreversible renal failure because the patient likely had significant pre-existing renal damage from undiagnosed diabetes.  Plaintiff counsel opposed the motion for Summary Judgment by submitting expert affidavits, including an expert affidavit from a pathologist.  Justice Peter O’Donoghue of the Supreme Court, Queens County, granted the motion to dismiss on behalf of the home infusion company.  The Court concluded that plaintiff’s counsel failed to adequately rebut the opinions of the defendant’s experts, and that neither plaintiff’s pathology expert or nursing staff were qualified to offer opinions on etiology of the renal failure.

HPM&B Partner Vincent L. Gallo, Jr., represented the defendant home infusion company.