Amy Anderson obtains Not Guilty verdict on behalf of attending physician
On September 26, 2002, plaintiff (a 62 year old female) was seen by her primary care doctor for complaint of nausea, vomiting and flank pain. He diagnosed a kidney infection, prescribed oral antibiotics and sent her home. At 5:00 AM the next morning, she was brought by ambulance to the hospital emergency room with nausea, vomiting, flank pain and fever to 106. She was admitted to the attending physician, the on call partner of her primary care doctor. When she arrived at the medical floor, her blood pressure had dropped significantly and she was transferred to ICU. A stat CT scan was ordered but could not be performed until she was stable at 8:30 PM. The CT showed a kidney stone obstruction, a urology expert was called and surgery was done the following morning. However, the plaintiff developed sepsis and a clotting condition (DIC) that resulted in the loss of 8 of her fingertips including her thumbs. She uses cosmetic prosthetics for her fingers, but was unable to return to work as a hair stylist. Plaintiff asked for $2.4 mill. to $3.4 mill. for the failure to order the CT scan and urology consult on arrival to the ER. The defense used the testimony of the ER resident, 2 ER attending physicians and the 2 doctors who evaluated her on the medical floor to support his argument that CT and urology was not warranted until her condition changed. The defense further argued that the sepsis and DIC had started before the plaintiff arrived at the hospital and her outcome could not be changed.