On March 25, Gordon & Rees Pittsburgh partners, Andrew Kimball and Katie Mills, obtained a defense verdict for their client, a nursing facility, after a five day jury trial. The plaintiff was a 57-year-old neurologically impaired woman with a feeding tube. She resided in the subject facility without incident for sometime prior to the subject events. However, she began to experience episodes of emesis over a 4 to 6 week period. The physician was not contacted until four days prior to her hospital admission for aspiration pneumonia. The Pennsylvania Department of Health cited the facility for failure to timely notify the physician of a significant change in condition.
The plaintiff became ventilator dependent and had a tracheostomy. She died 11 months later. The Plaintiff was able to board $175,000 in medical bills and argued for a negligence per se charge for the Department of Health violation. The court did not agree. The Plaintiff also sought punitive damages. The jury found no negligence, which the defense attributes to quality defendant nursing staff, who testified that they were properly evaluating the plaintiff after each episode of emesis.