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In August, 2000, a Fredericksburg jury awarded over $300,000 against Mary Washington Hospital. Our client had presented to the emergency department and had been given Demerol and Phenergan for pain and nausea. He had a clear reaction to these medications and had a respiratory arrest. He was immediately revived but should not have been given the exact same drugs several hours later. Unfortunately, the hospital had a system in place whereby the emergency department doctor would dictate a note that would not be placed in the patient's file for over 24 hours. There was not requirement that the doctor make a note in the chart about the medication reaction.

As a result of this carelessness, the patient received the same drugs just hours later, after complaining of more pain. This time he had a far more serious respiratory arrest, and, according to his doctor, almost died. He underwent 30 minutes of CPR and suffered a lacerated spleen and liver. He spent several weeks in the hospital in very serious condition. He about $75,000 of medical bills.

The most the hospital ever offered was $100,000. It took the jury just 2 1/2 hours to reach its verdict.

After this case, our client wrote us:

We've been totally satisfied with everything--I was particularly impressed with the way that you pulled everything together--selecting the appropriate witnesses, etc. ...Several people have commented on how they were glad that someone has taken this action. The feel the hospital needed to be made aware of the need to re-look at internal operating procedures.