Lawsuit: Poor hospital care left veteran in vegetative state

AP News
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Posted: Jul 21, 2015 1:49 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A veteran's wife filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government, saying negligent treatment at a Jacksonville naval hospital left her husband in a vegetative state.

Christina Hollis says her husband, Shon Hollis, 47, went to Naval Hospital Jacksonville last summer for an invasive probe in the colon and gastrointestinal tract to find out why he had bleeding. Hollis was given anesthesia despite a history of breathing problems, including sleep apnea, which was documented in the hospital's electronic records, according to the lawsuit.

Doctors failed to properly protect Hollis' airway during anesthesia and he stopped breathing, according to the complaint. Doctors also failed to intubate him right away and he suffered a brain injury from a lack of oxygen, the lawsuit says.

"It's very well-known in the medical community that if you have obstructed sleep apnea, you are at high risk and special precautions must be taken," said Christina Hollis' attorney, Sean Cronin. "Electronic records are supposed to keep us safe. They didn't read the records."

Hospital spokeswoman Tammy Begasse said she couldn't comment on the case because of privacy laws and patient confidentiality.

"We are committed to providing the best care to each and every one of our patients," Begasse said. "We follow nationally accepted practices, and patient safety is our No. 1 priority."

Hollis, a 22-year Navy veteran who is the father of three children, is unable to walk, talk or move his arms or legs, and he is fed through a tube, Cronin said.

"The goal of this case is to get him taken care of long term," Cronin said.