News Brief

Friedberg and Jordan Score Defense Verdict in Med Mal Case

December 9, 2014

After an eight-day trial in Bronx County, Alan Friedberg (Partner-White Plains) and Laura Jordan (Partner-White Plains) obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case against the firm’s client, a hospital, for a claim alleging improper discharge. The plaintiff, a 73-year-old woman admitted to the hospital for a shoulder dislocation, suffered a heart attack, and after 10 days in the hospital suffered respiratory arrest that required 12 days of intubation. The intubation caused the plaintiff to lose her ability to swallow and require a feeding tube. She also suffered a collapsed lung and pneumonia and received supplemental oxygen up to the time of discharge. After 66 days in the hospital, the plaintiff was discharged a day after a blood transfusion to treat a drop in hemoglobin. Twelve hours later, without oxygen, she died. 

The defense argued that the discharging doctor made a "judgment call" that the patient was stable for discharge, which was supported by the discharging nurse’s observations. The plaintiff's expert claimed the plaintiff’s anemia, a pending C-Dif culture that came back positive the day after discharge, abnormally low blood pressure, and elevated white blood cell counts mandated continued hospitalization. The defense expert disputed the extent of the findings indicating the discharge was a matter of clinical judgment 

The jury found there was no departure in discharging the deceased and, after three hours of deliberation, rendered a defense verdict.

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