Jury Awards $2.85 Million in Broward County Medical Malpractice Case
On February 6th, a jury found a Broward County doctor liable for $2.4 million in damages for failing to properly treat a 72-year-old retired police officer—Jerry Pettigrossi—who was suffering from an autoimmune disorder and ended up dying as the result of the medical care he received.
Allegedly, Pettigrossi was placed on the regular medical floor when he should have instead been in telemetry in order to be properly monitored. As time passed, the weakness he originally had been experiencing in his legs progressed to his extremities, and he began to lose feeling in his arms and hands. Three days later, in spite of being notified that Pettigrossi’s heart rate and blood pressure had spiked, the doctor still failed to examine Pettigrossi, and he died the next day after suffering from a progressing paralysis.
But For a Medical Mistake, the Patient Would Have Lived
As with all medical malpractice cases, Pettigrossi’s family argued that his death was preventable; in other words, he would not have died but for the substandard care he received at the hospital. Specifically, experts testified that Pettigrossi exhibited classic symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome, which causes the immune system to attack the nerves. Had he been properly monitored, the proper medication could have prevented progression of paralysis to his lungs and heart.
While in most medical malpractice cases, the doctor and/or hospital being accused of medical negligence usually argues that they did, in fact, provide the proper standard of care, in this particular case, the defense argued that, instead, the mistakes were made by the nurse for allegedly failing to follow the doctor’s order for a stat cardiac consult and call in a neurologist as well in addition to the attending doctor. The defense also argued that the typical standard of care did not require the doctor to recognize the symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome; specifically, that he did not “have the time or wherewithal to go back to the books and learn about everything that’s presenting in a patient.”
The jury ultimately sided with Pettigrossi’s family, assigning 85 percent of the liability for his death to the doctor and 15 percent to the nurse. The total damages awarded came to $2.85 million, with $2.42 of it being attributed to the doctor, specifically.
Florida Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If a doctor and/or hospital fail to follow standard protocol in recognizing and treated a patient’s medical needs, the patient and/or their family may be able to hold them liable by filing a medical malpractice claim after a pre-suit investigation is completed.
At the law offices of Lavalle Brown & Ronan, our Boca Raton medical malpractice attorneys have extensive experience assisting individuals and families in Florida who have suffered due to medical negligence. We strive to obtain the full compensation you deserve to make you whole again; contact us today for a free consultation.