Tuberculosis Malpractice Lawsuit in Baltimore Against Sinai Hospital

Coleman v. Sinai Hospital of Baltimore

(Filed August 18, 2016)

This is a misdiagnosis case filed on behalf of an adult woman in Baltimore City against Sinai Hospital. The lawsuit alleges she was kept in isolation even when testing suggested she did not have tuberculosis as suspected. This case was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on August 18th, 2016, and was the 411th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland in 2016.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

An adult female is admitted to Sinai Hospital with suspected pneumonia and pulmonary tuberculosis. She has tests that reveal developing pneumonia. Several days after her admission, one of the doctors' notes that the pulmonary tuberculosis was initially a possibility of plaintiff's diagnosis, but that he does not think she has it.

The following day, a test on a sputum sample is done, which is positive for Numerous Acid-Fast Bacilli, which most commonly used to identify tuberculosis infections caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The test results are positive, so plaintiff is placed in isolation, and a drug regimen is initiated. During her treatment, additional tests came back negative for active tuberculosis, but she is kept in isolation and remains being treated with powerful medication, even in the absence of an infection. After 11 days, she is finally released from isolation.

She brings a claim against the hospital, alleging a failure to properly evaluate and assess, which led to a false-positive result of tuberculosis infection. She further alleges that as a result of her 11-day isolation period, she suffers mental injuries such as humiliation, fear, and embarrassment

Additional Comments
  • This is a false positive lawsuit without any permanent injury. Let's just say you do not see many of these.
  • Tuberculosis is a human bacterial infection caused the Mycobacterium tuberculosis that typically found by the very test plaintiff took. The organism almost invariably comes through respiration. This woman was put in isolation because anyone in the vicinity of her would be at risk of acquiring the bacterium.
  • The problem with the Numerous Acid-Fast Bacilli test is that it is similar to a strep test. The preliminary result tell you something but the cultures take weeks to grow before they can definitively culture TB. Of course, that would lead to false negative. Here, we had a false positive. But what happened was when Sinai repeated the tests, they got negative results they assumed could be a false negative.
Jurisdiction
  • Baltimore City
Defendants
  • Elder patient at Hospital Lifebridge Health, Inc./ Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
Negligence
  • Failed to properly evaluate and assess
  • Failure to properly records results of labs
Defendant's Experts and Areas of Specialty
  • Plaintiff medical malpractice attorney had yet to name experts when this case was filed.
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