Following an Alabama medical malpractice wrongful death trial that began on May 6, 2019, the jury awarded $30 million to the family of a 24-year-old gunshot victim who was transported by ambulance to the defendant hospital where he languished for two hours before dying because the defendant on-call general surgeon at the defendant hospital was performing elective surgery on another patient and refused to come to the aid of the gravely injured trauma patient.
The gunshot victim was an innocent bystander who was shot in the back when a gunfight erupted on a public street on December 27, 2013. He was conscious while being transported to the defendant hospital. Nonetheless, the paramedics notified the defendant hospital that they were transporting a trauma victim who needed immediate evaluation and treatment.
The man was seen by an emergency room physician upon his arrival and was determined to need abdominal surgery to treat his trauma injuries but the defendant on-call general surgeon who was paged advised them to call another surgeon. Hospital staff attempted to locate another surgeon to perform the emergency abdominal surgery but were unable to find one. The defendant on-call surgeon was paged a second time and responded again that another surgeon should be found to treat the gunshot victim.
One hour and forty five minutes after the gunshot victim arrived in the emergency department, the defendant on-call surgeon was paged a third time and responded to that page by instructing that the man should be transferred to another hospital.
The Alabama medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant hospital’s policies allowed the on-call surgeon to schedule elective surgeries on on-call days, which risked that the on-call surgeon would not be available to perform emergency surgery at the hospital. The Alabama medical malpractice plaintiffs also alleged that the defendant hospital was negligent in not having a backup plan to address such circumstances. The man’s family faulted the defendant on-call general surgeon for failing to locate another surgeon to perform the emergency surgery, which was required by the hospital’s policies.
The Alabama medical malpractice jury’s verdict was against the on-call general surgeon, his medical practice, the director of the hospital’s trauma services, and the hospital’s chief medical officer.
The family’s Alabama medical malpractice attorney stated after the verdict, “[The gunshot victim] was victimized twice. First, he was an innocent bystander struck by a stray bullet. Then, he was left to die in an emergency room because the general surgeon who was at the hospital and called to provide the life-saving surgery he needed, never showed up.”
If you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of emergency room negligence in Alabama or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Alabama or in your state who may investigate your emergency room medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a emergency room malpractice case, if appropriate.
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