An Arizona woman was recently awarded $12 million after a verdict was reached in her medical malpractice case. It was Esmeralda O. Tripp Vs. the University of Arizona Health Network, which is now called Banner-University Medical Center Tucson. The verdict has been recorded as the largest civil verdict reported in the state to date this year, according to Tucson.com. The total amount was originally $15 million, however, the jury found Tripp partially at fault for causing her injuries which is why it was reduced by $3 million.
The incident came about back in 2013 when Tripp was informed by her doctor to seek medical attention from the hospital when tests indicated that her blood was unusually thin. Tripp had been treated in the hospital several times in the past as she suffered from hypertension, irregular heartbeat, heart disease and seizure disorder. She was on the medication Coumadin at the time she was treated in the hospital which is a blood thinning drug as she suffers from blood clots in the veins in her legs and lungs.
When she arrived at the hospital for treatment, a doctor, who was only eight weeks out of medical school and an attending doctor decided that her “INR should be rapidly reversed with the blood clotting medication Profilnine,” and it was given to her. INR refers to the international normalized radio and is a way to measure blood levels. While she normally would be treated with Vitamin K or fresh frozen plasma, sometimes even both, these doctors decided to provide her with a medication that “should be used if a patient has serious or life-threatening bleeding, or if the patient requires emergency surgery.”
Tripp didn’t meet either of the criteria.
Unfortunately, she didn’t react well to the medication and about two hours later, “she screamed in pain and stated that her heart rate and blood pressure went extremely high.” Tripp’s brain was deprived of oxygen which has left her in a vegetative state where she now requires constant care. She is fed through a breathing tube and must be turned on a regular basis to avoid developing bedsores. While the money will help the family provide the care Tripp needs, it will never allow her to live out her remaining years in the manner she desired.
While the facility’s representing attorneys accused Tripp of failing to provide the physicians who treated her with vital information, her daughter refuted that comment saying that her mother informed them of all her health conditions. Hospital officials also “denied violating the standard of care and denied any negligence in the case.”
The fact is, many doctors tend to rely on protocol, regardless of a patient’s condition or health concerns. Whether Tripp failed to provide the treating physician with certain information, the medication administered didn’t meet the criteria for her condition. While one preliminary report did indicate she may have had appendicitis, which was when the Profilnine was given, it turns out she didn’t. And the operative word here is “may” which means the doctor could have reacted too quickly which led to this mistake being made.
While this case took a great deal of time to settle, because the family elected to hire a medical malpractice attorney, the settlement awarded was in their favor. If you are ever injured during a medical procedure and aren’t sure how to handle the matter, USAttorneys.com will help you locate a medical malpractice lawyer in Phoenix, AZ who can inform you on what your rights are.