Defendants Push Back on Charges of Substandard Care
The husband of a 45-year-old woman who died of a blood clot in one of her lungs has filed a suit against multiple defendants, including the parent company of the healthcare center where she was initially seen, reports a story in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
On June 8, 2016, Kristen Lee Currier visited Belknap Family Health Center in Meredith, New Hampshire, a part of LRGHealthcare, for her annual physical. After being examined by an advanced practice nurse, Currier was found to have no concerns. She picked up a new prescription for her usual birth control pill and returned home.
About a month later, Currier returned to the center, complaining of a cough that had persisted for approximately 3 weeks following a cold. She was seen by a family physician, who prescribed inhaled and nebulized steroids as well as an anti-inflammatory, according to the suit.
Nevertheless, on July 18, Currier called the center and reported that her coughing and breathing had gotten worse. This time, she was seen by a different family physician, who decided that her symptoms met the criteria for a chronic cough, perhaps caused by asthma, although he noted that Currier hadn't responded up to this point to reasonably aggressive asthma treatment. The physician ordered a heartburn medication and a chest x-ray, which was completed on July 20 and, according to the suit, was found to be normal.
The following day, Currier's husband James called the center and said that his wife was having difficulty catching her breath and that her coughing had worsened. In his suit, James Currier alleges that he cautioned the center that his wife couldn't remain at home in her current condition and that he needed assistance in formulating next steps.
That same day, the Curriers went to Laconia Clinic, in Laconia, New Hampshire. It was there that an advanced practice nurse diagnosed Kristen Currier with a cough/bronchospasm and prescribed several medications, including a cough suppressant, a steroid, and a drug to treat airway narrowing. Wood also advised Currier to rest and stay well hydrated.
Five days later, Currier kept a previously scheduled appointment with the first advanced practice nurse whom she had seen 7 weeks earlier at Belknap Family Health Center. The nurse recommended that the steroid be continued and added another medication to lessen her patient's airway inflammation.
Early on July 26, Currier experienced severe chest pain, losing consciousness multiple times. Rushed by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital, also part of LRGHealthcare, resuscitation efforts continued but failed to revive her. The state's chief medical examiner found the cause of death to be pulmonary thromboembolism.
James Currier's suit against the various defendants alleges wrongful death and medical negligence. His suit also seeks damages for emotional distress. But in a statement to the newspaper, an attorney for all of the defendants except the Laconia Clinic pushed back: "Reasonable judgment was exercised in the selection of an accepted method of treatment from several options, all of which were within the standard of care."
Through its own legal representative, the Laconia Clinic has denied all allegations of negligence or any deviations from the standard of care.
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