On September 22, 2015 Delfino Cuautle was forced to have his leg amputated after a series of bureaucratic errors at two different New York City hospitals led to a 13-hour wait and a fixable medical problem turned into a mandatory amputation. Alleging medical malpractice, Cuautle is suing for $24 million in damages caused by the hospitals.
On the day of the amputation, Cuautle was hit by a car at 6 AM on Coney Island. The EMS was on the scene within 3 minutes and took Cuautle to Coney Island Hospital. Within an hour of arriving at the hospital, doctors determined there was no blood in Cuautle’s legs – which were cold to the touch. After performing a CT scan, doctors said “emergency surgery” was necessary to save the limb. Because Coney Island Hospital did not have a surgeon that performs the specific procedure Cuautle needed, it contacted a “transfer hotline” at Kings County Hospital– which is legally obligated to answer after three rings. Kings County Hospital did not pick up and Coney Island Hospital was forced to leave a message. Cuautle was eventually transferred at 2 PM – a full eight hours after the accident, and in violation of New York state law requiring hospitals to perform transfers in 30 minuts or less.
When Cuautle was transferred, Coney Island did not send the CT scan (and apparently could not send the CT scan electronically) – forcing Cuautle to wait three more hours for another CT scan to be performed at King’s County Hospital. At 7 PM, a full thirteen hours after his accident, Cuautle finally underwent surgery – unfortunately, it was too late for his leg to be saved and the doctors amputated his right leg right above the knee.
In response to the lawsuit, a representative for Health + Hospitals said: “Our emergency rooms and trauma centers of excellence provide 24/7 essential, lifesaving and high quality services to hundreds of New Yorkers and visitors to our city every day. We have just received notice of these disturbing allegations and will carefully review this case.”