The University of Pennsylvania has been hit with a $44.1 million verdict after a court found that hospital staff failed to recognize a patient’s adverse reaction to heparin, an anti-coagulant medication. As a result of the reaction, the female patient suffered a brain hemorrhage.
The verdict came down last month, with the jury finding the attending physician 35% liable and the hospital itself 65% liable. It is the highest medical malpractice award in the state this year. It is also the highest when last year’s verdicts are taken into account.
According to a pretrial memo, doctors tested the patient’s blood for approximately a week after she had surgery. The results showed that her coagulation was moving from the low end of normal to the high end. Instead of stopping heparin at that point, doctors stopped monitoring her blood. This failure to monitor caused doctors to miss a massive bleed in the patient’s head. The patient fell into a coma.
After waking from the coma, the patient was left significantly paralyzed.
The health system responsible for the hospital released a memo, “We are disappointed in today’s verdict and continue to believe that appropriate care was provided. We plan to appeal this unfortunate decision.”
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