An Escalating Allergic Reaction

Serving nearby areas by Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, Florida

Gene L. Swain Sr., a 66-year-old retired music teacher from Baltimore, entered Boca Raton’s The Wastershed residential treatment for alcohol dependency. Shortly after arriving, he was treated with Lisinopril for hypertension. An allergic reaction followed, causing swelling of the tongue and breathing difficulty.

An on-duty psychiatrist recognized that Mr. Swain was suffering from angioedema and ordered Benadryl to control the swelling, rather than sending him to the emergency room. The reaction continued through another dose of Benadryl and Mr. Swain symptoms escalated. By the time he made it to the hospital Mr. Swain’s tongue and upper airway were so swollen that the emergency room doctor was unable to intubate him. A crichothyrotomy created a temporary airway, but vomiting displaced the tube and Mr. Swain went into cardiac arrest and died.

Romano Law Group assisted Mrs. Swain in filing suit against The Watershed, doctors and Boca Raton Regional Hospital. We were able to combine skills, talent and resources with Baltimore’s Schochor, Federico & Staton to litigate the complex issues involved. Using the latest courtroom technology, including digital animations, trial presentation software, visual timelines and anatomical illustrations, we helped the jury visualize and understand key issues over the four-week trial. Ultimately the Swain family was awarded more than $3.1 million in this case wrongful death.