Diplomat sues Ottawa hospital, doctors for $33M
By TONY SPEARS, Courts Bureau
Last Updated: March 21, 2011 7:35pm
A diplomat’s wife’s limbs had to be amputated after doctors at the Ottawa Hospital mistook a serious heart infection for the flu, a lawsuit filed in Ottawa alleges.
Solomon Azoh-Mbi, who is High Commissioner at the Cameroon embassy, his wife Mercy Azoh-Mbi and their two children filed the $33.1-million suit late last year against the hospital, three doctors and a medical resident.It claims their negligence, delay and failure to consider her medical history led to the preventable amputations and a permanent brain injury.
“(H)ad Mercy’s endocarditis been identified and appropriate treated ... she would not have suffered the severe and extensive damage that occurred,” the suit says.
The allegations have not been proven in court.
Mercy Azoh-Mbi, who had had a heart valve replaced, began to feel “unwell and feverish” and went to the hospital emergency room on Oct. 23, 2009.
Emergency physician Dr. Bruce Cload examined her at 3 p.m., learned of her symptoms and heart condition, then sent her out the door 20 minutes later with a prescription for an anti-flu drug.
She got worse, developing spots on her hands and feet, so her husband called an American doctor familiar with her medical history.
The doctor said the symptoms could indicate endocarditis, a potentially-fatal heart condition.
On Oct. 25 she was back at the hospital and Dr. Mathieu Gatien made a provisional diagnosis of endocarditis. Hours later, Dr. Sunita Mulpuru ordered “broad range antibiotics” while Mercy Azoh-Mbi’s condition worsened.
Just before midnight she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, “unaware of her surroundings.”
Her hands and feet grew cold and she did not react to “painful stimuli of the extremities.” Her toes and fingers “had complete necrosis” by Nov. 5 and “mummification of Mercy’s fingers and toes was noted” four days later.
By mid-month, doctors knew they had to amputate, though they wouldn’t perform the surgery until January to give time for her cognitive functions to improve.
Mercy Azoh-Mbi still has difficulty with speech and information processing and requires attendant care for daily living, the suit says.
The geologist — who will never work again, the suit says — wants $25 million for future care costs, $2 million for medical costs and $3 million for loss of income.
Her husband wants $2 million for loss of income and opportunity — his career options will be “sufficiently reduced” because of his wife’s disability.
Cload, Gatein and Mulpuru filed a notice of intent to defend Jan. 21.http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/20 ... 97971.html