Attorneys from Sommers Schwartz obtained a $1.705 million verdict in Wayne County, Michigan Circuit Court for the estate of a 53-year-old woman who died as a result of excessive fluid administration. According to the lawsuit, the decedent presented to the Sinai-Grace Hospital Emergency Room on complaining of nausea and vomiting over the previous four days. She was given boluses of fluids, but only a small amount of urine output was recorded. The patient was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction, and the defendant general surgeon performed a partial colon removal. During the procedure, the patient was provided additional fluids with little to no urine output, and she continued to receive aggressive fluid resuscitation post-operatively in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU). The patient continued to deteriorate, and two days later the defendant surgeon performed a subsequent operation to inspect the abdomen for evidence that would explain the patient’s declining condition. Upon opening the abdomen, the patient suffered a cardiac arrest. CPR was initiated and her heart rate restored, but she suffered extensive brain damage that prevented her from regaining consciousness. Family members requested her transition to comfort care. Shortly after she died. The plaintiff claimed that in light of the patient’s extremely low urine output despite adequate initial fluid resuscitation, the surgeon should have requested an immediate consultation with a kidney specialist. It was further alleged that the defendants failed to appreciate that additional fluids were causing respiratory distress and abdominal compartment syndrome. Plaintiff’s experts included a general surgeon, a medical critical care specialist, and a nephrologist. Sommers Schwartz senior shareholder Kenneth Watkins filed the wrongful death lawsuit and conducted all of the pre-trial discovery. Six months before trial, Ken involved senior shareholder Robert Sickels to handle a technically detailed Daubert hearing, challenging the scientific basis for all three expert’s causation opinions. Ken was scheduled for another wrongful death trial at the same time, therefore Rob tried this case before a jury of six men and two women, including a SICU nurse and two emergency medical technicians.
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