Find out about the most important recent Michigan cases, selected by VerdictSearch editors. Coverage includes Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
Hospital failed to alert patient to seriousness of condition: suit
Wayne County, Circuit Court
other-death; other-ischemia; arterial/vascular-internal bleeding
Wrongful Death; Medical Malpractice - Failure to Treat, Informed Consent, Failure to Consult; Affirmative Defenses - Contributory Negligence
Jennifer Hatfield as Personal Representative for the Estate of Gary Hatfield, Deceased v. Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, No. 14-013465-NH
March 30, 2017
Jennifer Hatfield (Female),
Estate of Gary Hatfield (Male, 59 Years)
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
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
Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital
William C. Hurley; Riley & Hurley, P.C.; Dearborn, MI, for Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital
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.
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.
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.
Susan L. Hubbard
7 to 1
At the time of publication, the defendant was intending to seek a new trial or remittitur.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's and defense counsel.