ASHEVILLE, N.C. (CN) – A woman died because a medical device company ignored doctor’s warnings not to take an infection-sucking vacuum from a patient after a payment dispute, causing her to lose her leg and then her life, the woman’s husband claims in McDowell County Court. The widower says that a KCI USA agent told him and his wife that if they did not surrender the device, “I will come and take it off myself.”
David Johnson claims KCI USA, a Texas-based company that sells and leases medical devices, knew the “wound vac” was a doctor-prescribed part of his wife’s treatment. Gail Susan Johnson developed an infection after her knee-replacement surgery.
The wound vac is a continuously running suction device meant to keep infections from collecting in a wound and causing complications after surgery.
The Johnsons had medical insurance and had filed appropriate papers with their insurer to cover use of the device, the widower says.
David Johnson says that nonetheless, for reasons still unknown, KCI insisted on removing the device.
Johnson says he and his wife responded by getting an updated prescription for the device from their physician, but that only made KCI more belligerent.
He claims one KCI agent told him and his wife that he would “come and take it off myself.”
After the device was removed, Gail Johnson’s condition rapidly declined and doctors were forced to amputate her left leg above the knee. The humiliation and severe emotional distress she experienced as a result contributed to her death, her husband says.
He demands punitive damages for injuries, breach of contract, negligence, intentional infliction of distress, loss of consortium and unfair and deceptive trade. He is represented by Gary Triggs of Morganton, N.C.