Richard E. Vollertsen, of the Alaska Injury Law Group, has announced the settlement of a medical malpractice claim against the Alaska Native Medical Center (“ANMC”) on behalf of his client, Mardi Strong. Ms. Strong, a member of the Yakama Indian Tribe, sought care at the ANMC Emergency Room and the health system’s Family Medicine Clinic on three occasions while suffering from cellulitis and sepsis. Her condition, however, was misdiagnosed as shingles. As a result, she suffered dry gangrene in all four limbs, which had to be amputated.
Ms. Strong’s claim was asserted under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), and was defended by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in a trial in March, 2018 before Judge Timothy M. Burgess of the United States District Court in Anchorage. The parties reached a settlement while awaiting the Court’s decision.
Mr. Vollertsen explained that, “This litigation brought to light a number of patent inadequacies in the ANMC health care delivery system.” He listed the following concerns that were brought out in the case: inadequate peer review and quality assurance procedures; the hospital’s failure to adopt the international consensus guidelines in the Surviving Sepsis Campaign adopted by the nation’s hospitals many years prior; placing false and inaccurate records in a patient’s chart; inadequate continuity of care for patients; and the failure to train personnel to recognize the critical presenting signs and symptoms of sepsis.