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Hospital Emergency Room Medical Malpractice Brings $8 Million For Woman Paralyzed After Visit to the ER ~ part two


This is a follow up to my last blog post titled, “Hospital Emergency Room Medical Malpractice Brings $8 Million For Woman Paralyzed After Visit to the ER ~ part one,” whereby I discuss a case where a once healthy young 36 year old woman was paralyzed after Medical Malpractice was committed in the Emergency Room.

The Plaintiff’s case was based on the theory that if a proper work up had been performed in the ER initially, then the strain of the infection was common enough that they could have treated it when she first visited the emergency room instead of sending her home, and by the time she returned to the ER the final time, it was too late and thus paralyzed.

The Plaintiff’s expert witnesses were Daniel Abbott, an Emergency Medicine Physician, and Nicholas Suite, a Neurologist, both from California. Abbott testified that the Defendants Breached the Standard of Care for ER doctors by sending the Plaintiff home without knowing what was causing her severe chest pain, and Suite testified that their delay caused her paralysis.

The Defendants claimed that they acted reasonably in discharging the Plaintiff despite not having determined a cause for the chest pain. The defendants also asserted it was the conduct of Dr. Matthew Zucker, after she was finally admitted, that caused the delay in diagnosis.

The jury disagreed with the Defendants and found, under the theory of comparative negligence, as I have discussed in prior blog posts, that the Defendants were negligent and assigned said negligence as follows: 1.) Against Pierrot, the Physician that saw her when she returned complaining of chest pains, 20 percent; 2.) Against Ringelheim, the doctor who gave her pain medicine and did the scan of her lungs for a blood clot, 22 percent; and 3.) Against Zucker, who caused the delay when the Plaintiff was finally admitted to the hospital, at the largest at fault at 58 percent.

The Jury assessed damages for the Plaintiff in the amount of $3.45 million for past and future medical costs, and $15.8 million for past and future pain and suffering. However, because of the amount assigned to Zucker as a Fabre defendant, the Plaintiff’s award was reduced to $8 million.

This case shows that there is a Standard of Care in Emergency Room Medical Malpractice cases and that even though the Plaintiff’s burden of proof in Georgia has been raised to gross negligence, that does not mean that these cases should be ignored or not evaluated.

At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, we are experts at all Medical Malpractice cases, and even cases involving the Emergency Room, so if you or a loved one has been injured or died in an Emergency Room incident at any time in your treatment, then you may Contact Us for your free legal consultation. We are here to assist you, and we will not turn our back on you no matter how your injury occurred as we are here to serve you!

In my blog posts this week, to further reiterate my point that ER Medical Malpractice cases have a Standard of Care, I will discuss the Standard of Care in the Emergency Room for the Failure to Diagnose and Delay in the Treatment of a Head Injury, as an example that there is a Standard of Medical Care in Medical Malpractice Cases involving the ER.