MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE BY CELEBRITY CRUISE LINE RESULTS IN LIFE THREATENING CONDITION FOR PASSENGER

Cruise Ship, Maritime and Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Miami, Florida & Nationwide

Posted: February 18, 2011

The following is a description of a personal injury case we have filed. This is a case involving a personal injury relating to negligent medical care on the Celebrity Summit, a ship owned by Celebrity Cruise Line. On January 11, 2009, our client, a Celebrity cruise passenger, presented at the Celebrity medical center onboard the Celebrity Summit. Our client had a fever 104° F, weakness, and incontinence. He had a history of diabetes, hypertension, and renal insufficiency. In violation of the standard of care for treatment of a diabetic patient with a fever of 104° F and no clearly identifiable source for the fever, the ship and its physician advised against getting off of the ship and thus against admission to a hospital competent to treat such a potentially life threatening medical condition or urgency or emergency, and failed to provide or take blood and urine cultures, chest x-ray, and broad spectrum antibiotic coverage. Contrary to the representations of Celebrity in its literature that it would have two qualified physicians onboard its cruise ship, it had only one. That one doctor admitted that he was overworked and overwhelmed. Yet, apparently because of the compensation system or some mistaken belief that this was not an urgent and life threatening problem, and in violation of the standard of care, the doctor specifically recommended that our client remain on the ship and under his care at Celebrity’s onboard infirmary. The next day on January 12, 2009, our client had an episode and was shaking and vomiting. In violation of the standard of care, no temperature or other vital signs were documented by the doctor and no exam is documented. Yet again, apparently because of the compensation system or some mistaken belief that this was not an urgent and life threatening problem, and in violation of the standard of care, the doctor specifically recommended that our client remain on the ship and under his care at Celebrity’s onboard infirmary. On or before January 12, 2009, our client through his wife requested that they leave the ship and later in the cruise that they be airlifted off of the ship and flown to a hospital competent to handle this medical crisis. That request was made to the ship’s physician and to Guest Services of Celebrity on the ship. Both the ship’s physician and Guest Services represented that our client and his wife could not communicate directly with the ship’s command and that there were as many as 6 captains onboard. In any event, our client through his wife was advised also that a medical evacuation would not be possible. On January 13, 2009, our client was noted to be “not drinking or eating”. He was treated with IV fluids, but again, in violation of the standard of care no exams or vital signs were documented. The doctor reported our client was improved on January 14, 2009 but recorded no objective data. Yet again, apparently because of the compensation system or some mistaken belief that this was not an urgent and life threatening problem, and in violation of the standard of care, the doctor specifically recommended that our client remain on the ship and under his care at Celebrity’s onboard infirmary. On January 15, 2009, our client complained of abdominal distention and constipation. He was given a laxative and passed a bloody stool. Again, in violation of the standard of care, the doctor failed to document any exam or vital signs. That evening, the patient passed a large amount of blood. Celebrity physician’s brief exam reports that the Celebrity passenger was “cold and clammy” as well as “pale”. The passenger’s blood pressure was noted to be low. Again, more objective data was not recorded. More rectal bleeding was noted that evening. The standard of care would require immediate transfer to a hospital for management of our client’s gastrointestinal bleed. Yet again, apparently because of the compensation system or some mistaken belief that this was not an urgent and life threatening problem, and in violation of the standard of care, the doctor specifically recommended that our client remain on the ship and under his care at Celebrity’s onboard infirmary. On January 16, 2009, our client was noted to be confused and febrile, although interestingly the chart is not clear or detailed as to his condition or what was done. The patient was started on IV and antibiotics. The patient was suffering from septic shock, was very anemic and had a hemoglobin of four. Finally, the cruise line arranged for a transport to a hospital. Time was of the essence. Yet, the cruise line arranged for transport to a hospital 45 minutes away even though it had represented that it was going to arrange for transport to a hospital 10 minutes away from the ship. As a result of the negligence of Celebrity Cruise Line, including but not limited to the misdiagnosis of his condition, lack of care, failure to administer the correct medications, failure to transport to a hospital, failure to transport to a hospital in a timely manner and as quickly as possible, failure to evacuate the patient off of the ship, our client suffered colonic perforation, raging biventricular infection, sepsis, and he was required to undergo surgery in Puerto Rico and critical medical care in Boston, MA, and to wear a colostomy bag from the date of his first surgery to the present date.