Jury Holds York Hospital Responsible in Patient's Death

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Jury finds that lack of communication, violation of safety rules contributed to patient death, enters verdict of $6 million to woman's estate, represented by Atlee Hall, LLP.

Jamie Jackson

A York County jury announced a verdict of $6 million to the estate of a woman who they said died because York Hospital and a local cardiology practice violated patient safety rules.

While representing the victim's family, Jaime Jackson, Esq., an attorney with the law firm of Atlee Hall, LLP in Lancaster, PA presented evidence of medical malpractice in the form of multiple violations of patient safety rules. Responding to the verdict, Mr. Jackson said, "This hospital violated patient safety rules, and the jury did the right thing: they held the hospital responsible for violating patient safety rules, which in this case led to the death of this wonderful woman, tearing her away from a husband of 33 years and three beloved children."

Alleged violations of safety rules in the complaint included:

  • A York Hospital resident did not follow the cardiologist's orders to notify the doctor if the patient's blood pressure dropped too low or heart rate rose too high.
  • The resident and doctor violated a patient safety rule that shock must be treated as an emergency because they failed to promptly act and order the proper tests.
  • Doctors did not adhere to patient safety rule: "doctors must communicate clearly with one another." The resident and on-call cardiologist dispute the contents of a phone call made about the patient's condition.

According to court documents, the incident in question occurred after the patient had just undergone a successful cardiac stent procedure and been transferred to the hospital's ICU for observation. She arrived in the ICU with a blood pressure of 65/46 and a heart rate of 128 -- clear signs of shock, yet, according to testimony given at trial, the resident proceeded in a routine fashion, without ordering any tests to find the cause of the shock and/or attempt to fix the problem before the patient was harmed.

Court documents include the resident's testimony that he spoke to the on-call cardiologist and described the patient's status, including low blood pressure, high heart rate, anxiety and pain, and that he was concerned because she was in shock.

Court documents also include the cardiologist's testimony that he was never given any such information and was informed that the patient was in stable condition. The cardiologist further testified that had he known the patient's true condition, he would have responded with emergent treatment and ordered tests to find the cause of the shock and fix it.

Upon reaching a final verdict, the jury announced a $6 million decision on behalf of the woman's estate and surviving husband of 33 years, along with their three children. Case No. 2009-SU-4919-22 in the Court of Common Pleas of York County, Pennsylvania.

About Atlee Hall LLP
For over 30 years, Atlee Hall LLP has helped victims who have suffered from serious personal injuries due to the neglect of another. Atlee Hall, LLP is a full-service law firm with offices in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but has represented clients across the nation. Their injury attorneys have over 125 years of combined experience. They have earned some of the highest ratings a law firm can have in the state of Pennsylvania. For more information on Atlee Hall, LLP, visit their website: http://www.atleehall.com

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Jaime D. Jackson, Esq.
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