Wantage NJ Med Mal: Trial over alleged misdiagnosis of lethal bee sting begins

06/04/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Wantage, NJ—Nearly a month after doctors misdiagnosed a Sussex County man after he was rushed to the hospital for an allergic reaction a bee sting, he was stung again. This time, however, the sting proved fatal upon his arrival at the medical center. A medical malpractice trial was subsequently filed, with opening arguments heard by a Morris County jury Friday, June 4, 2010, as reported by NJ.com.

According to reports, 40-year-old William Hensley was outside mowing his law on July 22, 2005 when a bee stung him. Hensley consequently suffered a serious allergic reaction and collapsed in his yard.

A neighbor found him lying outside, foaming from the mouth at approximately 7:30 p.m., and he was quickly transported to Saint Clare’s Hospital for treatment in the ER.

The neighbor allegedly informed the emergency room physician, Allen Retirado, and the hospital’s internist, Harvey Beckman, that she believed Hensley had suffered an allergic reaction after a bee sting.

However, the medical professionals did not notice any outward signs of a sting. After ruling out a heart attack or stroke as the cause, they went on to diagnose his condition as “altered mental status and heatstroke,” but failed to even mention the possibility of a bee sting in his medical records.

The medical malpractice lawsuit, filed on behalf of Hensley’s wife Melissa, contends the Retirado and Beckman “rushed to judgment” when ruling out the possibility of a bee sting.

The defendants claimed they were never informed of such a possibility. “The charge that Dr. Retirado committed malpractice is a false one… Mr. Hensley did not die that night. He got better under the care of Dr. Retirado that night,” stated Retirado’s attorney.

Beckman’s lawyer alleged, “He’s a doctor who did what was right and what was expected of him, and he did not commit malpractice. Other things had to be ruled out first before they could continue and that’s what was done.”

Hensley was released the day after the July 22 incident. He even received a neurological checkup to try and draw a conclusion as to what might have landed him in the hospital.

Nonetheless on August 30, 2005, Hensley made the fateful decision to mow his lawn. Upon doing so, he was stung by another bee.

Melissa Hensley saw her husband get stung by the bee and he was rushed to the hospital yet again. This time, unfortunately, he did not make it. Hensley died of anaphylactic shock from the yellow jacket sting.

The case continues.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyers.

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