Patient Dies From Lack of Dialysis


Nephrology Expert WitnessThis case takes place in New York and involves an otherwise healthy male patient who suffered from kidney failure during a medical procedure, and as a result he was started on dialysis. He was transferred to a nursing care facility where he was to receive peritoneal dialysis on a regular basis. During the patient’s stay, there was a fire at the treating facility. As a result, dialysis became unavailable on site, and patients were to be transferred to a nearby facility for scheduled treatment. Despite these instructions, this patient missed several scheduled dialysis treatments, and after an extended period without treatment the patient expired. It is alleged that if this patient had received the care required, he could have continued to enjoy a high quality of life.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you routinely care for patients who require dialysis?
  • 2. Will you be able to review this patient’s medical records and charts to determine how he may have fared if he had received the scheduled dialysis treatment?
  • 3. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a claim arising from similar issues (delay in dialysis results in death)?
  • 4. Have you ever been the target of a malpractice claim involving a delay in coordinating dialysis for a patient?

Expert Witness Response E-005111

I care for 125 ESRD patients on dialysis and I am Medical Director of a dialysis facility. Each month, I also care for an additional 100+ hospitalized, chronic dialysis patients. It is extremely likely that failure to provide timely renal replacement therapy led to this patient’s untimely death, probably due to electrolyte disturbances. An assessment of his estimated survival on dialysis and quality of life, had this lapse of care not occurred, would depend on a more thorough assessment of his co-morbidities. Please let me know how I may offer further assistance.

Expert Witness Response E-009674

I do routinely care for patients who require hemodialysis. I am the chief of nephrology at a New York VA and at another large university medical center in NYC. I was the medical director of hemodialysis for 20 years, but just recently gave that position to a younger person. I still have a dialysis shift of my own. I will be able to review this patient’s medical records and charts to determine how he may have fared if he had received the scheduled hemodialysis treatment.

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