$1.16 MILLION SETTLEMENT - FAILURE TO HOSPITALIZE PATIENT WITH PNEUMONIA

A 59-year-old man was seen in the Urgent Care Unit of Kaiser Hospital complaining of two days of coughing and weakness. He could not walk from the lobby to the elevator. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, but instead of admitting him to the hospital, he was sent home and a follow-up appointment was made. The next day he was weak and coughing and was leaving home to go to the hospital when he collapsed and died soon after paramedics arrived. The Kaiser physician said he sent him home because he had instructions to not hospitalize "young" patients with pneumonia. Although not all patients with pneumonia are admitted to hospitals, we argued that he had severe bilateral pneumonia and should have been admitted where he could be closely monitored. He left a wife and two minor children who were very close to him.