The family of a Philadelphia man who passed away in 2006 was awarded a verdict of $2.185 Million after a jury found two doctors and a hospital liable for medical malpractice, according to a story on philly.com.
Zachary James, the decedent, presented to the hospital with chest, back and leg pains. Tests were ordered in the emergency room, but it took two hours for some of the tests to be performed. About two hours into the event, the lead emergency room doctor left the emergency room for a meeting, leaving a doctor who was starting his first day in the emergency room as the only physician in the emergency room. The new doctor was supposed to be in orientation and not left alone to handle the emergency room by himself.
X-rays were taken of Ms. James, but were not read in the emergency room when they were developed. Hospital procedure dictated ER physicians were to read the x-rays immediately. Instead, the x-rays were sent to radiology where they were reviewed the next day.
Mr. James passed away after spending eleven hours in the emergency room with no diagnosis. He had a dissecting aortic aneurysm, a tear in the wall of the aorta that allows blood to flow between the aorta wall’s layers, and can result in a rupture of the wall, and death.
The defense argued that even if the hospital Emergency Room physicians had quickly identified Mr. James’ condition, there still may not have been enough time to transfer him to another hospital to perform a life saving surgery. The jury found the two doctors 84% liable and the hospital 16% liable for the damages.