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On April 11, 2012, a 51-year-old man underwent knee surgery at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. Eleven days later he died from complications of a post-surgery infection. In 2014, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Bozeman Deaconess Health Services, Alpine Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Livingston Healthcare and four doctors.
According to the suit, the patient returned home from the hospital two days after surgery at which time Livingston Healthcare provided in-home nursing care and physical therapy. Around April 17, the man starting showing symptoms of a post-operative infection, yet, the home healthcare nurses and physical therapist didn’t recognize the signs nor did they recommend that he seek immediate medical attention. When the patient and his wife reported the symptoms to a doctor at Alpine Orthopedics, again the man was not urged to visit the emergency room. On April 21, when the discomfort worsened, he went to the ER at Deaconess. While there, two doctors failed to inspect his post-op wound, didn’t properly diagnose the obvious origin of the infection, didn’t recognize that the patient was being over hydrated, and didn’t recognize the urgency of his condition, according to the lawsuit. He died on April 22 of pulmonary edema, a condition in which the lungs fill with fluid, as well as complications from the infection and fluid overload.