Magdalena Malec, 31, a mother of two, is suing a hospital after doctors failed to realize she was suffering from a life-threatening condition. Their failure resulted in the amputation of both legs, her right arm, and the fingers on her left hand.
In late 2014, Malec was told that she suffered a miscarriage only a few weeks after learning she was pregnant with her third child. She was sent home from the ER with painkillers for her heavy bleeding and stomach cramps.
A month later she went in again only to discover that she had an ectopic pregnancy, when the fetus starts to develop outside the uterus, and had emergency surgery. Not only did she have surgery for the ectopic pregnancy but she needed a kidney transplant as well.
As she recovered, Malec developed ischemia of her limbs, or when blood ceases to flow to her extremities. Her limbs developed gangrene and her body tissue died after the hospital staff did not recognize the warning signs of sepsis.
Six months later, she had the surgery to remove her limbs before the infection could worsen and be fatal.
“Nothing will restore what I had. I will never paint my nails again. I will never make a ponytail for my daughter,” said Malec. “I do not trust doctors and I am very skeptical about all medical appointments and diagnoses.”
Now Malec has to relearn how to live her life as she tries to raise her two kids, ages 7 and 9. “I am learning how to live with pain. Going out and coping with the way people look at me is very difficult, and so is self-acceptance,” she said.
“There were a number of missed opportunities or ‘red flags’ which were not acted upon until it was too late,” said her lawyer, David Thomas. “If diagnosed early enough, sepsis is easily treated with antibiotics but despite recent awareness campaigns, mistakes such as this are still happening. It’s tragic.”
“There were missed opportunities to recognize the progressive clinical deterioration of Malec and act accordingly, including the timely administration of antibiotics,” said the hospital. “We convey our sincere apologies to Malec and we recognize the care provided fell below the standards we strive for.”
In the meantime, Malec has received an “interim payment” ahead of her lawsuit, although it is unclear who this payment is from at the moment.
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