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$2.4 million award for nurse's death

A Williamson County, Illinois, jury awarded over $2.4 million damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit over the death of a nurse who was treated in a hospital room. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by behalf of the family of a 47-year-old nurse who sought treatment for severe abdominal and back pain. She was married for 24 years and is survived by a son and a granddaughter.

The background was that she had undergone gastric bypass surgery a couple of years before, a procedure often performed for weight loss problems. The surgery sometimes leads to a complication of bowel obstruction, and that was the cause of her death following her emergency room treatment. She died the next day at another hospital.

The lawsuit alleged negligence on the part of an emergency room doctor, as well as the employing medical group. The exact amount of damages awarded by the jury after two hours of deliberation was $2,439,544.

Doctors confronted with patients seeking treatment must take care to properly diagnose what is ailing them, based on their complaints, symptoms, medical history, and appropriate testing. Based on such a diagnosis, they must provide medically reasonable treatment seeking to cure or alleviate the patient's condition. Failure to provide diagnosis and treatment that matches the reasonable standard of medical care in the community is negligence and doctors and their employers can be held liable for resulting injuries, illnesses, or deaths. Usually, expert medical testimony is needed to establish the relevant professional standard of care. Experienced personal injury attorneys can explain the possible civil options to victims of medical malpractice and their families.

Source:, "Jury awards multi-million dollar verdict in medical malpractice case" Beth Hundsdorfer, Nov. 21, 2013

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