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Michigan Verdicts

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Hospital failed to alert patient to seriousness of condition: suit

Amount:

$1,670,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Michigan

Venue:

Wayne County

Court:

Wayne County, Circuit Court

Injury Type(s):

other-death; other-ischemia; arterial/vascular-internal bleeding

Case Type:

Wrongful Death; Medical Malpractice - Failure to Treat, Informed Consent, Failure to Consult; Affirmative Defenses - Contributory Negligence

Case Name:

Jennifer Hatfield as Personal Representative for the Estate of Gary Hatfield, Deceased v. Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, No. 14-013465-NH

Date:

March 30, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Jennifer Hatfield (Female), 

Estate of Gary Hatfield (Male, 59 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Jeffrey T. Meyers; Morgan & Meyers, PLC; Dearborn, MI, for Jennifer Hatfield, Estate of Gary Hatfield ■ Timothy M. Takala; Morgan & Meyers, PLC; Dearborn, MI, for Jennifer Hatfield, Estate of Gary Hatfield

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Seth Parker; M.D.; Internal Medicine; Detroit, MI called by: Jeffrey T. Meyers, Timothy M. Takala ■ Robert Mulliken; M.D.; Emergency Medicine; Chicago, IL called by: Jeffrey T. Meyers, Timothy M. Takala ■ Sheila DeRiso; R.N.; Nursing; Washington, DC called by: Jeffrey T. Meyers, Timothy M. Takala

Defendant(s):

Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital

Defense Attorney(s):

William C. Hurley; Riley & Hurley, P.C.; Dearborn, MI, for Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital

Defendant Expert(s):

Jean Thorington; Nursing; Ann Arbor, MI called by: William C. Hurley ■ Michael Dionne; Internal Medicine; Grosse Pointe, MI called by: William C. Hurley ■ Stanley Materka; Emergency Medicine; Mt. Clemens, MI called by: William C. Hurley

Facts:

On Oct. 19, 2012, plaintiff's decedent Gary Hatfield, 59, a power plant engineer, presented to the emergency room of Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital in Wyandotte. Hatfield was seen with complaints of chest pain, rectal bleeding and shortness of breath. Upon examination, Hatfield was diagnosed with hematochezia (the passage of fresh blood through the anus associated with gastrointestinal bleeding). Hatfield was admitted to the hospital, but was held in the ER due to the lack of available beds. He was administered fluids intravenously and scheduled for an endoscopy, but ultimately left the hospital to return home after 22 hours. The following day, Hatfield was found deceased in his home, bleeding from his rectum. Jennifer Hatfield, on behalf of her late father's estate, sued Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, alleging medical malpractice and wrongful death. Hatfield alleged that the hospital was negligent in failing to appropriately counsel the decedent regarding his condition or report abnormal test and examination results to attending physicians for definitive treatment. In testimony, Jennifer Hatfield expressed that her father would have remained at the hospital if any member of the staff had explained the life-threatening nature of his symptoms. The hospital disputed liability. The hospital contended that it was not responsible for the decedent's decision to leave the premises prior to the scheduled endoscopy and the decedent was greater than 50 percent responsible for his own death. This case was initially tried in November 2016, but resulted in a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Injury:

Hatfield's cause of death was determined to be an ischemic bowel. Jennifer Hatfield, on behalf of Hatfield's estate, sought wrongful death damages. The defense disputed damages. During case evaluation before the Wayne County Medication Tribunal, Hatfield was awarded $300,000 in damages. The outcome of this case evaluation was rejected by the defendant.

Result:

The jury attributed 70-percent liability to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital and 30-percent liability to Hatfield. The jury's award of $1,670,000 (non-economic damages) was reduced to $1,169,000 to reflect the comparative negligence finding and then further reduced to $445,000 due to the statutory cap on non-economic damages.

Actual Award:

$445,000

Trial Information:

Judge:

Susan L. Hubbard

Trial Length:

4  days

Trial Deliberations:

1  hours

Jury Vote:

7 to 1

Post Trial:

At the time of publication, the defendant was intending to seek a new trial or remittitur.

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's and defense counsel.