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Angelia Y. King-Coleman, Admx. v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

August 22, 2011

ANGELIA Y. KING-COLEMAN, ADMX.
PLAINTIFF
v.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Clark B. Weaver Sr.

Cite as

King-Coleman v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corr.,

The Ohio Judicial Center 65 South Front Street, Third Floor Columbus, OH 43215 614.387.9800 or 1.800.824.8263 www.cco.state.oh.us

DECISION

{¶1} Plaintiff brought this action alleging medical malpractice.*fn1 The issues of liability and damages were bifurcated and the case proceeded to trial on the issue of liability.

{¶2} Erick Coleman testified that in June 2005, he underwent a procedure to repair a gunshot wound in his left femur. As a part of the procedure, metal hardware and screws were surgically implanted in Coleman's left leg. On September 20, 2005, Coleman was admitted into defendant's care and custody, and on November 21, 2005, he was transferred to the North Central Correctional Institution (NCCI). Coleman testified that while at NCCI, he experienced pain and swelling in his leg and knee, difficulty walking, and that it was necessary for him to ice and elevate his leg whenever possible. Doctors later discovered that an infection had developed in Coleman's leg requiring removal of the infected hardware. Coleman subsequently learned that he had developed osteomyelitis in his leg.

{¶3} On September 11, 2006, Coleman was admitted to the Ohio State University Medical Center (OSU) where doctors removed the infected hardware from Coleman's left femur. Subsequent cultures were positive for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE). To treat the infection, Coleman was prescribed vancomycin, an antibiotic which was to be intravenously administered on a long-term basis.

{¶4} On September 14, 2006, Coleman was transferred to defendant's Corrections Medical Center (CMC) where he continued to receive vancomycin.

According to CMC medical records, Coleman developed a low grade fever on September 26, 2006. (Plaintiff's Exhibit 3-2.) On September 28, 2006, Martin Akusoba, M.D., Medical Director at CMC, administered thorazine to Coleman for a case of the hiccups and ordered blood cultures to determine whether an infection was developing. CMC medical records indicate that on September 30, 2006, Coleman continued to run a fever and that he was given Tylenol. (Plaintiff's Exhibit 3-1.)

{¶5} On October 2, 2006, Coleman continued to run a fever at which time Dr. Akusoba prescribed the antibiotic, ciprofloxacin. Dr. Akusoba testified that prior to October 2, 2006, Coleman had not exhibited any sign of an adverse reaction to vancomycin. Dr. Akusoba explained that he prescribed ciprofloxacin in an attempt to treat any vancomycin resistant infection.

{¶6} Coleman testified that shortly after taking ciprofloxacin, he began to feel weak, his eyes began to burn, and he became very itchy. Coleman asserted that the nursing staff threatened to "put him in the hole" if he refused to take prescribed doses of ciprofloxacin. Dr. Akusoba testified that CMC does not have a "hole," or segregation unit, and that when a patient refuses medication, the patient is allowed to sign a document recording the refusal of the medication.

{¶7} Coleman testified that between October 2 and 4, 2006, his condition continued to deteriorate. Coleman stated that he began experiencing a severe rash, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, swollen throat, and blisters on his back, torso, mouth, nose, and ears, although the first documented blisters occurred at OSU on October 8, 2006. (Plaintiff's Exhibit 3-1.) Coleman testified that he was not seen by a doctor at CMC between October 2 and October 6, 2006, despite his rapidly deteriorating condition; however, according to CMC medical records, Charles Onwe, M.D., a physician at CMC, examined Coleman on October 4 and 5, 2006. Coleman testified that on multiple occasions between October 2 and 4, 2006, he reported his deteriorating condition, including his developing blisters, to CMC nursing staff, but that none of the nurses examined his blisters. According to a nurse's note dated October 5, 2006, Coleman had been complaining of pain and vomiting, but no vomit was observed. (Plaintiff's Exhibit 3-1.) Coleman asserted that by October 6, 2006, his condition had deteriorated to the point that he was unable to move or put on his orange jump suit.

{¶8} Dr. Onwe testified that on October 4, 2006, he discontinued ciprofloxacin after speaking with Coleman. Dr. Onwe explained that he did not discontinue vancomycin because it had been treating Coleman's MRSE infection for one month without an adverse reaction. Dr. Onwe asserted that he did not believe vancomycin was the offending drug. That same day, Dr. Onwe noted that Coleman was complaining of itchiness and had a low-grade fever. Dr. Onwe testified that he observed Coleman's skin, including his chest and back, and documented some pain and swelling in Coleman's left knee. Dr. Onwe further asserted that if Coleman would have had a rash at that time, he would have documented it.

{ΒΆ9} Dr. Onwe testified that on October 5, 2006, he examined Coleman and documented an elevated temperature and a sore throat but no rash. On October 6, 2006, Dr. Onwe again examined Coleman and documented an erythematous macular popular rash on Coleman's upper torso. That same day, Dr. Onwe determined that Coleman was continuing to deteriorate and ordered him ...


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