$3.9 Million Verdict: Jury Finds Negligence in Bowel Infarction Death of Hip Replacement Patient

Medical malpractice and wrongful death case — 63-year-old man dies from bowel infarction and septic shock after hip replacement surgery

2024 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
By William J. Thompson, Attorney 
Bristol Superior Court, Massachusetts  

Case summary

The plaintiff brought a medical malpractice and wrongful death case on behalf of a 63-year-old man who died from a bowel infarction and septic shock after a hip replacement surgery. He left two adult children who both lived out of state. The plaintiff alleged the defendant hospitalist, Alina Fernandez, M.D., was negligent in her post-operative care and treatment of the decedent in January, 2014 at Morton Hospital.

The plaintiff contended the care provided fell below the accepted standard of care for the average qualified hospitalist physician when Dr. Fernandez failed to recognize and appreciate signs and symptoms of an acute abdomen including but not limited to abdominal pain, distension, bloating, and metabolic acidosis; when Dr. Fernandez failed to offer, order, and/or perform nasogastric tube insertion to decompress the abdomen as well as central line placement for IV fluids; when Dr. Fernandez failed to recognize and appreciate that the abdominal CT scan findings, including colonic distention and pneumatosis, were indicative of an acute abdominal process; and when Dr. Fernandez failed to order a surgical consultation in response to the patient's condition and worsening clinical picture.

Jury finds hospitalist physician negligent in patient's death

The case was tried to a jury of 12 over seven days, and the jury deliberated for eight hours over two days before returning a verdict for the plaintiff finding that the defendant was negligent and that her negligence caused the decedent's death. The jury awarded $1,500,000 for conscious pain and suffering, and $600,000 to the decedent's two children for their loss of relationship claims under the wrongful death statue. With interest, the judgment totaled $3,938,127.30.

Lubin & Meyer attorneys Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. and William J. Thompson represented the plaintiff in this medical malpractice lawsuit.

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