PWRFL obtains $3.1 million jury verdict against MultiCare’s Good Samaritan Hospital and South Sound Inpatient Physicians.

After two weeks of trial, PWRFL lawyers Felix Luna and Tomás Gahan secured a $3.1 million verdict from a King County jury as compensation for the death of a MultiCare patient who was treated by South Sound Inpatient Physicians at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington.

The 66-year-old patient presented at MultiCare’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup with shortness of breath and dizziness and was admitted to the hospital.The doctor who admitted him (a hospitalist employed by South Sound Inpatient Physicians) suspected that the patient was suffering from a pulmonary embolism (PE), but did not properly schedule the diagnostic test to confirm the embolism, nor did she ensure the test was done before leaving her shift.

For its part, MultiCare’s laboratory failed to inform the doctor that the test was not performed, and rescheduled the test without obtaining proper authority.  The patient continued to deteriorate and, 16 hours after being admitted, died of a pulmonary embolism.

At trial, the defendants admitted that the failure to perform and properly schedule the test and to notify incoming doctors of the patient’s condition violated the standard of care, but argued that the patient’s comorbidities identified on autopsy, as well as the nature and size of the blood clot, meant that he would have died regardless of treatment.  Plaintiff’s experts countered that PEs like the one suffered by the patient are readily treatable with anticoagulant therapy and that he would have survived had he received standard of care treatment.  Plaintiff further argued that the night-shift hospitalist should have attended to the patient when he began to seriously deteriorate and addressed his PE with thrombolytic therapy.

The jury awarded $2 million to the patient’s widow, $150,000 to each of his adult children and stepchildren, and $500,000 in pre-death pain and suffering, for a total of $3.1 million.  A copy of the jury's verdict can be found here.