Medical Malpractice Story: John Enzenauer

On December 23, 2000, 39-year-old John Enzenauer was not feeling well and went to the emergency room. They found he had internal bleeding, a bladder infection and the flu, but sent him home anyway. He was told to come back after the holiday. When he was not feeling better on December 24, he went back to the ER but was again dismissed after 8 hours. He came back to the ER on December 26 and was finally admitted.

He died on December 27 from pneumonia. His treatable condition was evident from a blood culture test administered by the hospital and faxed to the ER during this period, but no one ever called the family with this information. Four different antibiotics could have completely cured him. His wife and children, including their a six-year-old daughter, filed suit against two doctors and the hospital, all of whom settled before trial. The survivors received $250,000 in non-economic damages; the amount of economic damages agreed upon was kept confidential at the insistence of the defendants.

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