Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case

Julie Hancock successfully defended a pediatric emergency room physician in a medical malpractice trial in Little Rock, Arkansas. The patient, an 18-year-old male, presented to the emergency department of a children’s hospital with a complaint of chest pain. The patient was examined, given pain medication, and an EKG was performed. He was discharged from the emergency department when no emergent problems were detected. He died two months later of an aortic dissection which was a complication of an undiagnosed, rare genetic disorder. Plaintiff alleged that if the emergency department physician had ordered a chest x-ray, the condition would have been diagnosed, the patient would have undergone a timely surgery, and the patient would have survived.

The defense presented expert testimony to demonstrate that a chest x-ray was not required by the standard of care under these circumstances and that it would not have revealed anything at the time of the patient’s presentation to the emergency department. Plaintiff argued that statistics supported her position that a chest x-ray would have been revealing and that it was a deviation from the standard of care to fail to order it.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant emergency room physician.

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