Firm obtains jury verdict dismissing medical malpractice claim

BOSTON (Dec. 14, 2012) – Pamela S. Gilman recently obtained a jury verdict dismissing a medical malpractice claim asserted against her registered nurse client.

Following the two-week trial, a Suffolk County Superior Court jury deliberated four hours before returning a verdict dismissing all medical malpractice claims asserted in the wrongful death case against the nurse and four doctors.

The lawsuit was filed by the administratrix of the estate of a 68-year-old woman who died of a pulmonary embolism while recovering in a hospital following a bowel obstruction surgery.

The plaintiff claimed that the physicians failed to order the appropriate prophylactic anticoagulant medication to the patient after the surgery to prevent the formation of a blood clot. The plaintiff further claimed that once the blood clot was diagnosed and anticoagulant medications were ordered by the physicians, the medication was not administered by the nurse, causing the patient to suffer a fatal pulmonary embolism.

The nurse acknowledged she did not document that she administered the medication in the medication administration record. However, she testified that based on her custom and practice she would have given the medication, particularly since she was aware of the patient’s blood clot and knew the importance of giving the medications on a timely basis.

The nurse also testified that, based on the medical records, she visited the woman’s hospital room multiple times to check on her condition and administered all other prescribed medications during the shift when the drug in question was to be given.

A pharmacist from the hospital where the woman died testified about the procedure for how the drug in question would have reached the area of the hospital where the woman was recuperating from surgery, and the protocols in place to ensure prescribed medications are administered.

Regarding the issue of causation, a hematologist expert testified on behalf of the nurse that the medication in question is designed to prevent new clots from forming, not to break up existing clots, and that administering the drug the evening before the woman died would not have prevented her death.

“We are pleased that the jury found that our client was not negligent,” said Gilman. “She is an extremely dedicated and conscientious provider who clearly provided appropriate care despite the documentation error.”

Jennifer Rousseau assisted Gilman on the case.

About Barton Gilman

Barton Gilman is one of New England’s leading civil litigation law firms with offices in Boston and Providence, including its highly regarded Medical Liability practice. Its experienced trial attorneys appear regularly in the federal and state courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Providence Business News has named the firm as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work for five consecutive years (2008–2012).