Family of the Woman Who Died from Flesh Eating Bacteria Settle Case

Carmen Alexander, a 43-year-old school teacher, died Feb. 21, 2012, just two days after being admitted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Her death was connected to a serious bacterial infection known as necrotizing fasciitis (NF), which can spread quickly through the body, destroying its soft tissue.

Alexander’s family says medical negligence resulted when the defendants failed to adequately diagnose and treat Carmen for necrotizing fasciitis in a timely manner. The sooner the patient can be treated with surgery and broad spectrum antibiotics, the more likely their chance of survival. Alexander was admitted on Feb. 19 with what the lawsuit calls “classic signs of NF.”

“Her symptoms included worsening localized chest pain that was disproportionate to any physical finding, swelling of the chest, nausea, vomiting and dehydration” but that the defendants discharged her the same day “without making any effort to rule out NF,” according to the lawsuit.

Alexander returned to the Cottage Hospital emergency room the following morning, with worsening chest pain, increased swelling, shortness of breath, dizziness, dropping blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat, according to the lawsuit. Carmen died in the hospital the same day.

Nearly 5 years after her death the three teenage children of a 43-year-old woman settled a wrongful death case with Cottage hospital for $600,000.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or toll free at 713-222-7211.