Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Case Awarded $4 Million Dollars

August 17, 2014 by
Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Case Awarded the Victim’s Family $4 Million Dollars due to Medical Malpractice. When we are sick or are injured, we rely on doctors and other medical professionals to diagnose and care for us. However, when doctors fail to diagnose serious ailments, people can be severely injured or can die. In this case, a 42-year-old woman died when her doctor and medical team failed to diagnose an intercrainial bleed.

On May 19, 2008, the deceased went to the hospital complaining of pulsating pressure from her neck to the top of her head, a severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although the deceased made these complaints, the attending physician ordered a CT scan and an X-ray of the head and spine for the next day, instead of that day. The next day (May 20, 2008), the deceased arrived at the physician’s hospital and received the CT scan and X-ray. The radiologist read the CT scan and said it was “unremarkable,” not diagnosing the subarachnoid hemorrhage the deceased suffered from. The medical team diagnosed the deceased with nuchal rigidity based on the X-ray. The deceased was prescribed physical therapy, but no further tests were done.

On May 26, 2008, the deceased went back to the same hospital complaining of tailbone pain, neck spasms, throbbing in the head, and stiffness in the back. A second emergency room physician saw the deceased. This physician prescribed pain medication, believing that the patient was just suffering from the previously diagnosed nuchal rigidity. The deceased went home without being properly diagnosed.

On June 1, 2008, the deceased suffered from nausea and vomiting. She was taken to a different hospital emergency room. There, she was correctly diagnosed with a large right anterior frontal lobe parenchymal hematoma with intraventricular hemorrhage. The patient was taken to another hospital. Despite the correct diagnosis, the deceased’s condition worsened, and she died on June 4, 2008.

The emergency room physicians were both named as defendants, and they settled with the plaintiffs before the trial. The other plaintiff was the radiologist that reviewed the CT scan and X-ray from the first time the deceased came the hospital. The radiologist testified that malpractice did occur, but it was the two emergency room physicians who were negligent. The radiologist maintained that the first emergency room physician deviated from the standard of care by not ordering the CT scan and X-ray on the first day. Also, the defense said the second physician should have recognized that the deceased’s symptoms were consistent with subarachnoid hemorrhage. The plaintiff and the two emergency room physicians claimed that the defendant radiologist deviated from the standard of care by not diagnosing the intercrainial bleed.

The jury found that each of the two emergency room physicians were 15 percent negligent in the case. They also found the radiologist defendant was 70 percent medically negligent. The jury awarded the plaintiffs a total of $4,049,544. This included $3,749,424 for the decedent’s son, $75,070 for the decedent’s husband, and $225,050 for the decedent’s estate.

The plaintiffs in this case suffered a terrible loss of a mother, wife, breadwinner, and caretaker. Although the court could never bring back their loved one, it rightly awarded the plaintiffs a significant amount of money. This decision proves that medical professionals must be held accountable when they make mistakes that harm, instead of help, their patients.

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