Lawsuit says veterans center improperly inflated catheter

June 5, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Staff at a Kansas City veteran’s medical center caused a man to contract a blood infection and die after improperly inflating a catheter, according to a federal lawsuit filed by his widow.

The lawsuit alleges that 52-year-old Gilbert Harris visited the Kansas City VA Medical Center in 2016 for neurogenic bladder, a condition that causes the bladder to become overactive or underactive. It’s a common complication of multiple sclerosis, which Harris had, along with a traumatic brain injury, the Kansas City Star reported .

Harris was seen at the center, where a medical provider removed his catheter and inserted a new one. But by the time he returned to his nursing home that evening, he had a fever and “large amounts of blood and clotting” in his genitalia. Harris was quickly taken the Nevada Regional Medical Center in southwest Missouri, where he was diagnosed with an acute urinary tract infection and sepsis, a blood infection.

Harris then returned to the veteran’s center, where a CT scan found the catheter had been inflated within the penile urethra instead of his bladder, according to the lawsuit. The catheter was quickly replaced, but Harris went into septic shock and died days later.

The lawsuit was filed Friday by Harris’ widow, Patricia, who seeks unspecified damage for her losing his companionship and for the physical and mental pain her husband suffered before he died.

The medical center’s spokesman declined comment. Don Ledford, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which defends the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in civil litigation, said his office also wasn’t “in a position to comment or have a response at this time.”


Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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