$6.6 Million Jury Award to Patient Who Suffered Paralysis from his Chest Down Because the Doctor in the Emergency Department Chose Not to Notify the Patient of Test Results Indicating Systemic Blood Infection

HW was 44 years old and had a history of heroin abuse. He developed severe back pain and then went to a local hospital’s emergency room telling the nursing staff that he was also suffering from heroin addiction and that he had experienced fever and nausea.

HW underwent testing, including an EKG, x-rays and blood work and was discharged from the hospital with a diagnosis of exacerbated back pain and narcotic withdrawal.

When the final results of HW’s blood culture were finalized it showed that he was suffering from a systemic blood infection. However, the hospital claimed that it was not able to reach HW by phone to advise him of these very dangerous results. Instead, the hospital sent a certified letter to the address that HW had given at the time of his admission. A copy of that letter was found in his medical records file. Predictably, before HW received the letter, he suffered paralysis from his chest down because of the systemic blood infection.

HW sued the hospital claiming that it failed to follow its own policies and procedures to protect patients with abnormal test results. HW asserted that the hospital’s policies required him to be contacted immediately and that the contact had to be assured. Here the hospital was never able to timely inform its patient of his serious and deadly systemic blood infection.

As a result of the hospital’s negligence the jury found in favor of HW and entered its verdict of $6.6 million. The jury apportioned fault at 64 per cent on the hospital and assigned 36 per cent of fault on the plaintiff for his contributory negligence.

The attorneys for HW were Eric H. Weitz and Justin L. Groen.

Walker v. Weber, No. 03778 (Pa. Ct. Com. Pleas, Phila. County, March 11, 2015).

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling hospital negligence cases, emergency department negligence cases, medical malpractice cases and nursing home abuse cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding Illinois areas including Libertyville, Long Grove, Winfield, Westchester, Streamwood, Matteson, Steger, Crete and Lincolnwood, Ill.

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