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Sunday, October 1, 2023

AdventHealth doctor fined after woman loses all four limbs to sepsis

An Ocala doctor who failed to give antibiotics to a patient suffering from sepsis was fined $5,000 and must complete continuing education after the woman required the amputation of all four of her limbs.

The Florida Department of Health’s Board of Medicine issued the decision against Dr. Donald W. Crowe, who practices medicine at AdventHealth Ocala (1500 SW 1st Avenue), earlier this summer in a medical malpractice case that dates back to January 2020.

According to the complaint, a 58-year-old female patient visited the AdventHealth TemberRidge Emergency Room located at 9521 SW State Rd 200 on January 25, 2020. The woman, who was identified as “LS” in the complaint, complained of chills, fever, and numbness in her hands and face.

The woman was seen by Dr. Crowe in the emergency department, where her temperature was recorded at 100.4.

Crowe ordered several tests including an arterial blood gas, chest x-ray, EKG, and blood work to evaluate “her electrolytes, blood cultures, and lactic acid level for sepsis.”

According to the complaint, the patient’s lab work showed multiple abnormalities, including a blood gas consistent with hyperventilation, an elevated white blood cell count of 17,000, and elevated lactic acid of 3.0.

“Both the elevated white blood cell count and elevated lactic acid levels are concerning for sepsis,” reads the complaint.

While the woman was in the emergency department, her temperature increased to 102. Her lab results showed that she met the criteria for sepsis. The complaint indicates that she was “febrile, tachycardic, tachypneic (elevated respiratory rate), had an elevated blood cell count, and an elevated lactic acid level.”

The board says that the standard of care required Crowe to administer a “broad-spectrum antibiotic within one hour of the recognition of sepsis.”

Instead, the patient was given IV fluids, acetaminophen for her fever, and Haldol for her anxiety. She was not started on antibiotics, and, after improving at the clinic, she was discharged home with “instructions for hyperventilation.”

The complaint goes on to say that following the woman’s discharge from the hospital, her “condition deteriorated” until she “required amputation of all four extremities due to sepsis.”

The complaint accused Crowe of failing “to meet the standard of care in his treatment” of the woman, failing to give her a “dose of antibiotics when she presented to the emergency department with signs and symptoms of sepsis,” and violating Florida Statute 4.58.331(1)(t)(1).

According to the settlement agreement, Crowe was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, $4,444.10 in reimbursement costs to the DOH, and must take three hours of continuing medical education related to the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis, as well as five hours of continuing education related to risk management.

Crowe attended medical school at the Indiana University School of Medicine and was issued his license to practice medicine in 1984. He lists himself as an attending physician at AdventHealth on his LinkedIn page. He also currently runs the Podcast of Experience Based Emergency Medicine (PEXBEM).

The case resolved just a few weeks after another Ocala doctor was banned from performing abortions for performing one on a woman who was over 24 weeks pregnant.