In October 2017, an Arizona medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $15 million in favor of a 42-year-old woman who was allegedly given inappropriate medication in the defendant hospital emergency room that led to her suffering a heart attack later that night at home during which her brain was robbed of oxygen, resulting in the woman suffering severe brain damage and being in a vegetative state.
The woman had been taking the blood thinner Coumadin and had suffered episodes in the past when her Coumadin level was too high, thereby causing her blood to be too thin and putting her at risk of suffering a stroke, for which she was typically treated in a hospital with Vitamin K, fresh frozen plasma, or having her Coumadin withheld until her level returned to normal.
On September 12, 2013, the woman again suffered too much Coumadin in her bloodstream and went to the defendant hospital’s emergency room for appropriate treatment. She was treated by a resident, who had graduated from medical school only eight weeks earlier. Instead of treating the woman in the manner that had been successful in the past, the resident ordered that she receive Profilnine, a powerful blood-clotting medication that hospital protocol required only to be given if the patient required emergency surgery (which the woman did not) or the patient was facing life-threatening bleeding (which the woman was not). The attending physician (the resident’s supervising physician) signed off on the administration of Profilnine, and the woman received the dangerous medication.
The woman returned home from the emergency room that night and then, only two hours later, called out in pain and became unresponsive. She was brought back to the hospital where it was determined that she had suffered a heart attack resulting in brain damage because her brain was without oxygen for too long. At the time of her discharge from the hospital six weeks later, the woman remained unresponsive, and she continues to be unresponsive four years later.
The woman requires around-the-clock care paid for by the State of Arizona, and she is also cared for by her family.
The Arizona medical malpractice trial lasted three weeks after which the Arizona medical malpractice jury deliberated for three and a half hours before returning its $15 million verdict, which was the sum the plaintiff’s Arizona medical malpractice lawyer had requested that the jury award.
The defendant hospital reportedly had offered $1 million to settle the plaintiff’s Arizona medical malpractice claims before trial, and promised that it would not offer any more to settle the claims.
The defense argued to the Arizona medical malpractice jury that the woman’s medical providers had done nothing wrong, that the use of Profilnine was appropriate, and that, in any event, the woman need not be compensated for her injuries because she was unaware of the harm she had suffered.
If you or a loved one suffered serious harm as a result of hospital negligence in Arizona or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find an Arizona medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your hospital medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case against a hospital, if appropriate.
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