Pennsylvania courts have long recognized that the failure to prescribe or administer a necessary medication may constitute medical malpractice. In a reversal of this situation, a recent jury verdict in a medical malpractice case resulted in an $1 million award for excessive medication.
In 2011, the patient initially checked in at the hospital emergency room with coughing, lung congestion and shortness of breath. She was treated by the emergency room physician and the emergency room nursing staff. The woman was diagnosed as suffering from bronchitis and hypoxia. She was already taking Coumadin, an anti-coagulant medication that prevents the blood from clotting. The emergency room physician prescribed Lovenox, another anti-coagulant medication that must be administered by injection.
The doctor's instruction stated that Lovenox should have been given to the patient upon receipt from the pharmacy and once every 12 hours thereafter. Unfortunately, the medication was available at about 1:30 a.m. but the first injection was not given until after 4:00 a.m. The woman then received three total doses in 18 hours. The patient then developed a hematoma on her right leg, requiring further treatment.
The woman was discharged but required further treatment and surgery for the hematoma and other medical issues that arose while she was hospitalized. The woman died on January 25, 2014. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury awarded the decedent's family $103,054 for lost income and medical expenses and $1 million in non-economic damages. The doctor was adjudged 80% liable and the hospital staff was adjudged 20% liable. The defendants' attorneys are planning to challenge the verdict in post-trial motions, and no decision has been made about whether to appeal the judgment.
Anyone who has suffered mistreatment or lost a loved one due to doctor errors in a hospital may wish to consult one of the medical malpractice attorneys at Leisawitz Heller in Reading. Such a consultation can provide a useful evaluation of the facts and law that will determine the outcome of the case.
Source: Greenwood Journal, "Jury awards $1 million in malpractice suit against Greenwood doctor, Self Regional," Damian Dominguez, June 3, 2017