In a record-setting medical malpractice case litigated by Ross Feller Casey founding partner Robert Ross, a Philadelphia jury yesterday awarded more than $44 million to a woman who suffered a brain injury as a result of negligence by the University of Pennsylvania hospital and doctors there.
The Legal Intelligencer reported on its front page that the outcome in Tate v. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is the largest medical malpractice verdict in Pennsylvania this year, and was more than double the biggest medical malpractice award in the state for all of 2015.
The trial lasted 13 days and the jury deliberated for seven hours over two days before finding for the plaintiff, Andrea Tate.
The jury found that Tate suffered severe brain damage because the hospital’s staff failed to recognize her adverse reaction to the anti-coagulant drug heparin in September 2011.
As a result of the negligence, Tate, then a 57-year-old project manager at a financial services company, is unable to feed herself, walk or use the toilet.
Ross convinced the jury during the trial that test results showed that over six days Tate’s blood was growing increasingly too thin as a result of the heparin, and that the hospital failed to adjust the medication. Those tests were then stopped for several days, even though heparin was still being administered.
“Instead of stopping the heparin at that point, here's what they did, they just stopped testing," Ross told The Legal Intelligencer. "Three days later, they find her virtually comatose. She had a massive bleed in her head."
Ross told the online legal journal Law360 that the case likely was sealed when the hospital’s critical care doctor testified that, in retrospect, it would have been better to keep testing Tate’s blood coagulation after it began to rise.
Ross Feller Casey associate Iddo Harel assisted Ross in the case.
The Legal Intelligencer reported that, before the verdict, the hospital had made a final offer of $15 million to settle the case. Ross had demanded $31 million. The jury ultimately awarded $44.1 million.