Congratulations to John Mahon and team for a defense verdict in federal court.
An eight-person jury deliberated for four hours after a five-day trial in mid-February and unanimously sided with our hospital client and an emergency room physician sued for medical malpractice by a teenager who suffered a severe bacterial infection after a piece of a broken stick remained lodged in his leg.
After two visits to the E.R., the boy, then 12 years old, returned to the E.R. a third time with increased pain and redness and was transferred to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where he was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis and underwent multiple debridement surgeries and skin grafts. The surgeon located and removed a 1-by-2-centimeter piece of wood from the boy’s leg during the first debridement surgery
At trial, the plaintiff claimed the physician negligently failed to find and remove the piece of wood, and additionally failed to order an ultrasound at the second hospital visit to look for a foreign body, or to admit the boy to the hospital to provide additional IV antibiotics. The defendants denied that ED physician was negligent during either visit and denied that the wood piece caused the infection and necrotizing fasciitis.
Plaintiff’s claim against the hospital was based on vicarious liability for the ED physician’s conduct as a purported employee of the hospital. The hospital denied that the ED physician was its employee, and argued that the ED physician was an independent contractor, meaning the hospital could not be held responsible for the ED physician’s conduct pursuant to Missouri law.
Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $1,302,000 for past and future pain and suffering, and future economic damages of lost earnings. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants.