Defendant appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Bronx County, entered on or about October 29, 2009, which denied her motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and all cross claims as against her.
Defendant is a registered nurse whose work is exclusively limited to the performance of home infusions of intravenous medication. On February 21, 1998, she visited the 12-year-old plaintiff at home to administer to her a dose of methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol). The defendant worked for Accuhealth, Inc., a company which specialized in home infusions.
Solu-Medrol had been prescribed by an opthamologist who was treating plaintiff for uveitis, a vision-threatening form of eye inflammation. The physician had ordered that the medication be given for three-day periods on consecutive months. The first month that the medication was administered was January 1998, and plaintiff accepted the infusion without incident. The defendant performed the infusion, which takes approximately one hour, on one of the January days. Other nurses from Accuhealth covered the other two days. Although not entirely clear from the record, it does not appear that the physician who prescribed the Solu-Medrol worked for Accuhealth.
The injury in question occurred on the day that the February series of infusions began. When the defendant arrived at plaintiffs’ apartment, the only medical equipment she had with her was a blood pressure cuff, a stethoscope and a one-way breather, which is used during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. All of the items which The defendant would need for the infusion itself, such as needles, intravenous lines, the pole to support the bag of medication and the medication itself, had been delivered directly to plaintiffs’ apartment in anticipation of The defendant’s visit. The infusion materials were shipped by Accuhealth, without the defendant’s involvement.
Within seconds after the Solu-Medrol began to flow into plaintiff’s veins, plaintiff complained that she could not breathe. The defendant testified at her deposition that she was next to plaintiff at all times and immediately stopped the drip. She said she instructed plaintiff’s mother, who was observing the infusion, to call 911 and tell the operator that her daughter was having difficulty breathing and to send an ambulance immediately. Plaintiff then began to have a seizure, and the defendant directed her mother to bring her a spoon with padding around it. The defendant used the spoon to force plaintiff’s mouth open. She then inserted the one-way breather and began breathing into plaintiff’s mouth through the device. Plaintiff’s condition rapidly deteriorated and she went into full respiratory, and then cardiac, arrest. The defendant claims that she lowered plaintiff from the sofa, where she had been situated at the beginning of the infusion process, to the floor, where she began to administer CPR until the arrival of emergency medical services personnel. Tragically, by the time emergency responders were able to stabilize her condition, plaintiff had suffered significant oxygen loss, which resulted in permanent brain injury damage, leaving her unable to eat, speak or communicate.
It is not in dispute that plaintiff’s condition was caused by an allergic reaction to the Solu-Medrol, which caused her to go into anaphylatic shock. This is a known side effect of the drug. It is also not in dispute that epinephrine is a prescription drug commonly given to counteract the effects of those allergens that can cause anaphylatic shock. The defendant did not have epinephrine with her on the day in question. She testified that epinephrine was not included in the box of supplies that Accuhealth had delivered to plaintiffs’ apartment before her arrival. She further stated that she would not have been permitted to carry epinephrine with her without a prescription.
Plaintiff’s mother testified at her deposition that, when plaintiff first complained about having difficulty breathing, the medical defendant was writing notes in the kitchen, approximately 20 feet from where plaintiff was situated in the living room. She stated that it took approximately one minute from the time she told the defendant that plaintiff could not breath until The defendant instructed her to call 911. She further contended that, after she brought the padded spoon to the defendant and The defendant commenced rescue breathing, The defendant asked her to help place plaintiff in a lying position on the couch, not on the floor as The defendant testified, where she performed CPR on plaintiff.
Plaintiffs commenced this action against the defendant, Accuhealth, the City and its Emergency Medical Service. As concerns The defendant, plaintiff’s bill of particulars alleged that she committed professional malpractice by, inter alia, failing to properly supervise and attend to plaintiff, failing to properly and immediately perform CPR on plaintiff, failing to personally advise the 911 operator of the nature of the emergency, and failing to have ensured that epinephrine was available to counteract the allergic reaction which caused plaintiff’s anaphylaxis.
The defendant moved for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint. She primarily relied on the expert affidavit of AH, a registered nurse. AH opined that the defendant, in each and every aspect of her treatment of plaintiff, acted well within the standards of good and accepted nursing practice.
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