Tampa, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/21/2017 -- A late mother's family recently settled its lawsuits against multiple parties who allegedly failed to properly diagnose and treat blood clots in her legs.
On September 21, 2011, Anna Brown went to two St. Louis, Missouri-area hospitals complaining of severe leg pain. Doctors at both hospitals failed to diagnose her deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and discharged her. When she refused to leave the second hospital, police charged her with trespassing and took her to jail, where she later died.
"This story is utterly heartbreaking," said Greg Grambor. He is president of Vascular PRN, a national distributor of pneumatic compression equipment for the prevention of DVT. "The doctors should have recognized her blood clot and treated it."
Brown was a homeless mother who had lost custody of her two children. Days after spraining her ankle, she had such severe pain in her legs that she could not stand. Brown first visited a pediatric hospital, where doctors had an ambulance take her to St. Mary's Health Center in Richmond Heights. There, ultrasound tests on both her legs were negative for blood clots, according to doctors.
After being discharged, Brown refused to leave. Police arrested her and charged her with trespassing after doctors deemed her "fit for confinement" – that is, healthy enough to go to jail. Police noted "suspected drug use" in the arrest report.
Surveillance tapes showed Brown asked for and was denied a wheelchair, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Approximately one hour after being carried into her cell, the tapes show Brown stopped moving. Shortly thereafter, workers discovered her unresponsive, attempted CPR, and rushed her back to St. Mary's, but Brown was soon dead from a pulmonary embolism.
The incident led to public protests outside St. Mary's as well as a prosecutorial review, which resulted in no charges filed. Brown's family filed a civil lawsuit against the jail, both hospitals, and the doctors involved. The case number was 1222-CC10603, filed November 20, 2012 in the 22nd Circuit Court of Missouri.
After a years-long wrongful death lawsuit battle, all defendants settled jointly with the plaintiffs. All the conditions were confidential except the amount paid in public funds of the city of Richmond Heights: $568,750.
Grambor said DVT is common after suffering an ankle sprain. Brown had already visited two other hospitals in previous weeks after spraining her ankle.
"Comprehensive clot prevention following her injury, including pneumatic compression therapy, could have saved Anna Brown's life," Grambor said.