Civil Plaintiff

Alabama Supreme Court Upholds Record $10 Million Wrongful Death Judgment Against Medical Center

The Alabama Supreme Court recently affirmed a $10-million judgment on a Mobile County jury’s verdict for the family of Mr. Jay West, who died due to unsafe use of Dilaudid that he was given after minor thumb surgery at Springhill Medical Center. The judgment is the largest that the Alabama Supreme Court has ever affirmed for a single wrongful death.

The record-setting affirmance originates from an incident in June 2014. Mr. West accidentally cut his left thumb with a table saw and went to Springhill Medical Center. A minor 20-minute surgery was completed to repair the wound. No complications were reported.

After the surgery, Mr. West’s surgeon ordered Percocet and intravenous (IV) Dilaudid for his pain recovery. If the medical personnel had reviewed Mr. West records and the Sentinel Event Alerts from the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO), they would have discovered that he was at “high risk for opioid-induced respiratory depression.” No safety measures were taken before Mr. West was given the IV opioids. At trial testimony proved that the hospital had not trained its nursing staff on how to prevent or respond to a patient experiencing opioid-induced respiratory depression.

Read more at WWNYTV News

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