A Norton widow is accusing Summa Health and its emergency medicine physician group of negligent care that she says led to the death of her 58-year-old husband.

In a wrongful death lawsuit filed Wednesday, Julie Bradshaw alleges that her husband's death from a stroke last year was caused, in part, by negligent care and “deviations from acceptable industry standards” after Summa abruptly switched ER physicians and lost its emergency medicine residency training program.

In the suit, filed in Summit County Common Pleas Court, Bradshaw claims her husband wasn't seen by an attending physician for about 20 hours after he arrived in the Summa Barberton Hospital emergency room for vertigo.

The physicians then failed to treat him for a stroke despite test results confirming he was experiencing the life-threatening condition, Bradshaw alleges in the suit.

The suit names 23 defendants, including Akron-based Summa; Canton-based U.S. Acute Care Solutions (USACS), which staffs Summa's ERs; several physicians; and other health care providers.

According to the suit, Robert Bradshaw was taken by ambulance late in the morning on Aug. 1, 2017, to Summa's Barberton ER. About three hours later, CT scan results “were suspicious for cerebellar stroke and Mr. and Mrs. Bradshaw were told he was having a stroke,” the lawsuit alleges.

Four hours after arriving in the ER, Bradshaw was seen for the first time by a doctor — an intern and first-year family medicine resident who “would have been approximately one month out of medical school,” according to the lawsuit. That physician did not activate a Stroke Team, the suit said.

A consultation by a neurologist also was ordered but no neurologist ever came, according to the suit.

Later in the evening, a third-year medical resident physician saw Mr. Bradshaw for “reported mental status changes” and “simply instructed the nurse to re-orient Mr. Bradshaw, and try to get him to relax despite his diagnosed cerebellar stroke,” according to the suit.

ER care

Despite being in the ER for 10 hours before being admitted to the hospital, “no emergency medicine physician or attending physician ever examined Mr. Bradshaw,” the lawsuit said.

The certified nurse practitioner and residents who saw Bradshaw were “all apparently practicing medicine and advanced practice nursing without any direct supervision,” the suit alleges.

The lawsuit cites the loss of Summa's emergency medicine residency training program, including violations cited from the national accrediting body, as a factor in Bradshaw's death.

In February 2017, the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) revoked the program after determining there were delays in obtaining specialized care for patients with possible strokes, first-year residents and rotating residents were seeing patients without supervision and patients were being sent home without ever been seen or examined by an attending physician.

Summa saw an abrupt changeover of the longtime emergency medicine physician group on New Year's Day 2017 after failed negotiations. The switch to USACS resulted in upheaval at Summa, including the resignation of the former CEO after hundreds of doctors voted no confidence in his leadership.

Patient deteriorated

In her lawsuit, Bradshaw says her husband's condition further deteriorated and he was not seen by an attending physician for the total 20 hours he was at Summa Barberton.

Despite being paged by a nurse when Bradshaw's condition worsened, the third-year resident never checked on him until after he had a heart attack, according to the suit.

Bradshaw's cardiac arrest, the suit alleges, “caused by the failure to monitor and timely and properly treat Mr. Bradshaw's cerebellar stroke.”

After the resident discussed Bradshaw's case with an attending physician by phone, the patient was transferred to Summa's main Akron City Hospital.

Bradshaw's wife was told by a medical provider while at Barberton's intensive care unit that her husband should have been transferred to Akron City earlier “in part because Barberton Hospital did not have neurology services,” the suit alleges.

Surgery at Akron City

Bradshaw had surgery at Akron City but died four days later.

His death certificate said he died of a “cerebellar stroke — cerebral edema.”

The case has been assigned to Summit County Common Pleas Judge Jay Wells' court. Spokesmen for both Summa and USACS said they could not comment on pending litigation.

Julie Bradshaw's attorney, Megan Frantz Oldham, said, “Mr. Bradshaw's family prays that this action will cause Summa to implement patient safety measures that will prevent a tragedy like this from happening to another family.”

Medical writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty