A woman entered Wycoff Heights Medical Centre in the summer of 2011. The woman, Sonia Natera, was walked to and from an examination room by a second-year resident. It was suspected that Natera’s abdominal pain was indicative of an ectopic pregnancy. During ambulation, Natera complained of diziness. The resident left her to look for assistance. After being left alone, Natera fell unconscious and fell.
As a result of the fall, Natera was forced to undergo neck and elbow surgery to repair injuries that were sustained. Natera’s attorneys alleged that the hospital departed from “good and accepted” medical practice by allowing Natera to be left alone after complaining of further symptoms.
The defense attorneys claimed that Natera’s vital signs were stable and that her fainting spell was an unforeseeable incident. The further stated that the hospital followed reasonable care in leaving Natera alone so that assistance could be found and treatment rendered.
Ultimately, the jury determined that the hospital was not negligent in allowing Natera to walk to and from an exam room, but that it was liable in allowing her to be left alone after she complained of being dizzy. Natera’s future life expectancy of 34 years was used in the calculations for compensation.
Natera was awarded $600,000 in damages, $100,000 for future pain and suffering and medical treatment still to be determined. The total of Natera’s award was $1.2 million.
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