Lack Of Jurisdiction Leads To Dismissal of Med Mal Case

The plaintiff alleged that when he was admitted to the hospital back on July 19, 2012 for an elective cervical spine surgery, he suffered a preventable injury to his esophagus. After the injury, the lawsuit alleges, there were no arrangements to move him to a facility where he could receive the care he needed. Furthermore, he was not properly stabilized before being transferred to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, where he was ultimately treated on July 26, 2012…malpracticeteam, Federal Judge Dismisses Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice Case For Lack Of Jurisdiction, Wais Vogelstein Forman & Offutt LLC, 2020

The victim brought his claims under the authority of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), which is an Act of Congress passed in 1986 that requires all hospitals to provide emergency medical treatment, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. EMTALA is a federal law applicable in all 50 states and claims arising under it can be brought in federal court instead of state court where most medical malpractice cases are generally heard.

The judge however, while dismissing the case, observed that the underlying medical condition did not fit within the definition of an “emergency” because it stemmed from an elective procedure. Therefore, EMTALA did not apply and neither did federal law. The judge held that the federal judiciary did not have jurisdiction to hear the case and suggested the plaintiff bring the case in a state court under traditional theories of negligence and medical malpractice.

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Kayur V. Patel, MD, MRO, FACP, FACPE, FACHE, FACEP
KayurVPatel@ExpertWitness.MD

$10 Million Payout Voided In Fatal Surgery Case

Sharon Kimble died hours after undergoing outpatient surgery at the Laser Spine Institute in Philadelphia. Her death was attributed to the cocktail of opioids and depressants administered to her during the operation. The jury awarded the victim’s husband, Robert Kimble, $10 million in wrongful death damages in a trial held in March 2018…apnews, Court voids $10M payout in fatal spinal surgery case, 2020

Laser Spine Institute appealed the money awarded. Judge Murray denied its plea but concluded that the amount awarded in damages is “far greater” than those issued in similar cases in the state. She cited examples of verdicts in other such cases that didn’t exceed $2.5 million.

The case now remains under the jurisdiction of the Chester County Court for a new trial focused specifically on the amount the institute must pay in wrongful death damages.

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Kayur V. Patel, MD, MRO, FACP, FACPE, FACHE, FACEP
KayurVPatel@ExpertWitness.MD

Botched Surgery Leads To $3.6M Med Mal Verdict To Cover Future Expenses

Military veteran Charles Brown sued Dr. Matthew Barchie of Keesler Medical Center, a U.S. Air Force hospital, on account of botching a 2016 abscess drainage procedure performed on him that resulted in Brown’s lung, liver and heart being punctured with a surgical instrument…law360, Military Doc’s Negligence Leads To $3.6M Med Mal Verdict, Y. Peter Kang, 2020

Upon finding that the Barchie’s negligence was the proximate cause of Brown’s long-term medical problems and other debilitating injuries, the judge in November awarded $500,000 for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, the maximum allowed under Mississippi law, but left the issue of economic damages unresolved due to a dispute over potential reductions.

In 2020, U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee determined that military veteran Charles Brown is entitled to approximately $3.1 million in past and future medical expenses making the total award $3.6 million. The government’s principal argument was that the bulk of past medical expenses and virtually all future medical expenses were or will be paid by Tricare; therefore, an award for economic damages should be limited.

The judge disagreed, saying that it was too speculative to assume that Tricare will continue to exist or at least continue to exist in its current form, for the remainder of Mr. Brown’s life expectancy so as to cover his future expenses. Hence, an award covering those expenses was necessary.

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Kayur V. Patel, MD, MRO, FACP, FACPE, FACHE, FACEP
KayurVPatel@ExpertWitness.MD