On December 5, 2011, M-90 presented to the emergency department at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital with generalized weakness, dyspnea and emesis. Thereafter, the patient was started on empirical antibiotics and found to have moderate to large bilateral pleural effusions on December 8, 2011; thoracentesis revealed 1500 cc of transudative fluid. On December 9, 2011, 250 cc yellow color, non-bloody fluid was withdrawn. On December 10, 2011, a portable chest x-ray was done following a thoracentisis indicating “[s]ignificantly increased left pleural effusion with near complete opacification of the left hemithorax and new right mediastinal shift from the large left pleural effusion. Likely underlying compressive atelectasis in the left upper and lower lobes.” Thereafter, a chest tube was placed, which drained 2300 cc of blood fluid. There was about 2 g Hgb drop. The output from the chest tube was 200 cc over the next 3 hours, and repeat Hgb was down to 8.1. Leroy was transferred to the MICU. M-90 died on December 10, 2011 after 23:00. The cause of death was determined to include hemothorax and therapeutic thoracentesis.
Settlement was reached shortly before the matter was scheduled for trial. This matter was filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”).