A Pittsburgh jury has found that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center at Shadyside was negligent in a patient’s death and awarded $2.5 million for wrongful death. The case alleged that a young man died after a brain abscess was not treated in time by the staff at the hospital. The jury actually issued a statement saying, “It is our belief that UPMC Shadyside’s policies, culture, and lack of competent supervision resulted in the death of Michael Rettger.” The young man, who was an accountant, was in West Virginia in November 2003 to perform an audit of another hospital when he began vomiting and reporting a headache. The man then was admitted to that hospital, and a CT scan and MRI revealed a large, swelling mass in his brain. The man was transferred to UPMC Shadyside in order to be closer to home. A copy of the article regarding the case can be found here.
I have successfully handled a number of medical malpractice / medical negligence / medical error cases in Baltimore and other counties in Maryland, and in Washington, D.C., involving the failure of hospitals to timely diagnose and treat patients with brain and other conditions. Of course, one has to obtain the medical records and retain proper experts in these cases, such as neurosurgeons and radiologists, to determine what really happened. But what is also critical in these type of cases is to obtain the hospital’s written standards to determine how the hospital expected its people to act, and to then take the depositions of the people most involved with the care and treatment of the patient, to understand what they did and whether they complied with hospital policies.