A Wyoming medical malpractice jury took only three hours to return its verdict in favor of a trauma surgeon after a one-week trial that concluded on November 21, 2016 with regard to the death of a 59-year-old pharmacist from Idaho who bled to death one day after being discharged from the hospital at which time he was instructed to “self-care.”
The man had collapsed while shoveling snow at his home six days before he died, injuring his back and left side. He stayed home to rest and returned to work two days after his fall. About one and a half hours after returning to work, the man passed out at work and was transported to the hospital, where he was admitted through the emergency room and came under the care of the defendant surgeon in the Intensive Care Unit (“ICU”).
The man had a history of thrombophilia that made him susceptible to blood clots. In the ICU, the man was prescribed Lovenox, Coumadin, and aspirin. The discharge summary written by the defendant surgeon stated that the man had some back pain and some abdominal pain. The defendant surgeon discharged the man to home along with his prescribed medications.
The Wyoming medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant surgeon breached the standard of care by anti-coagulating the man with Lovenox and Coumadin along with aspirin that caused him to bleed into his left retroperitoneal space that led to his death. The plaintiff alleged that the man should not have been discharged and should not have been prescribed those medications.
The defendant surgeon testified during the Wyoming medical malpractice trial and stated that he just complied with the man’s stated desire to go home; he simply listened to his patient and acquiesced in his request to leave the hospital. The defense attorney told the jury during closing arguments: “Patient autonomy is a two-way street. Can you hold [the defendant surgeon] responsible for a series of unfortunate events?”
The plaintiff’s medical malpractice expert testified during trial, “It was an unwise and risky discharge.” The expert was critical of the defendant surgeon’s qualifications: “I don’t think he has the maximum training in order to be a trauma surgeon.” The defendant surgeon reportedly obtained his board certification in the Cayman Islands.
The plaintiff’s medical malpractice attorney was obviously disappointed in the unanimous defense verdict, stating after the verdict was rendered: “I’m not sure what the rationale was, but I believe in the jury system so I have to accept the verdict.”
If you or a loved one may be the victim of medical malpractice due to negligent discharge from a hospital emergency room in Wyoming or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Wyoming medical malpractice attorney (or a medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your negligent discharge claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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