Blood Clot Killed Mother, Her Estate Claims
11-12-2013 23:51:00

     RICHMOND, Va. (CN) - Although she had been treated in the past for a pulmonary embolism, a 65-year-old woman’s post-operative anticoagulants were stopped too soon, leading to her death, her grieving daughter alleges in a complaint filed in Arlington County Circuit Court.
     Donna Johnson sued for the estate of Sheila Johnson. The decedent is also survived by a son, Edward Johnson.    
     The complaint names Virginia Hospital Center Arlington Health System t/a Virginia Hospital Center, Xiaodong Luo, M.D., Albert Cheung, M.D., Samim Enayat, M.D., William Seid, M.D., Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, P.C. and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. as defendants in the .
     According to the complaint: Sheila Johnson was admitted to Virginia Hospital Center in Oct. 2011, where Dr. William Seid performed laparoscopic surgery on her for ulcerative colitis. “Before surgery, the pre-operative clearance evaluation revealed that earlier in 2011, Sheila Johnson had had a pulmonary embolus and subsequent insertion of an inferior vena cava filter (IVCF). This information was known or should have been known to Dr. Seid, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Group, P.C. and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., and the hospital.”
     Sheila Johnson was given Heparin for anticoagulation every eight hours while she was hospitalized, but it was stopped when she was discharged on Oct. 19, the complaint says.
     At her Oct. 27 postoperative checkup with Dr. Seid, Sheila Johnson “reported feeling lightheaded when she stood up for the previous two days. While in Dr. Seid’s office, she felt lightheaded and passed out. She continued to have episodes of light-headedness and almost passed out again. She was sent to (non-party) Fair Oaks Hospital for emergency evaluation and subsequently transferred to Virginia Hospital Center,” the complaint says. [Parentheses added.]
     There, under the care of Dr. Xiaodong Luo, “she was admitted with a diagnosis of syncope (fainting) from low blood pressure, dehydration and abdominal pain. Dr. Luo did not order anticoagulation despite the high risk for development of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus, including a prior pulmonary embolus and IVCF insertion,” according to the complaint. [Parentheses added.]
      Athough a CT scan of Sheila Johnson’s chest and a sonogram of her legs did not reveal deep vein thrombosis, an abdominal sonogram “showed findings that were consistent with a blood clot that had formed at the site of the IVCF. Dr. Luo failed to further investigate this finding and failed to order any anticoagulation,” the complaint alleges.
     According to the complaint: Drs. Albert Cheung and Samim Enayat also attended Sheila Johnson during this period of hospitalization, from Oct. 27 to Nov. 7. “During that time, she experienced pain in her lower left extremity with discoloration at the foot, lower extremity edema, shortness of breath, tachycardia (rapid heart beat), syncopal episodes (fainting), and intermittent inability to participate in physical therapy. Despite these signs and symptoms, Dr. Luo and/or Dr. Cheung and/or Dr. Enayat did not anticoagulate Sheila Johnson and failed to properly investigate the causes of these signs and symptoms,” the complaint says [Parentheses added.]
     The complaint says: Nov. 7, non-party Dr. Jeffrey Kin noticed the swelling and ordered additional imaging. “The studies showed an extensive deep vein thrombosis that extended from her legs all the way up to the vena cava. He immediately ordered the anticoagulants Lovenox and Coumadin to be administered,” the complaint says.
     However, two days later, Sheila Johnson was walking with the physical therapist when she had a heart attack and could not be revived, the complaint says.
     Plaintiffs seek $2 million plus interest, costs and a jury trial. They are represented by David M. Kopstein of Kopstein & Associates in Fairfax Station, Va. and pro hac vice counsel Christian C. Mester, Jean M. Jones and Maria H. Dawson of Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester in Silver Spring, Md. CL13002454-00