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Medical Negligence

In Rural Patient vs. Emergency Group (Sonoma Co. Sup. Ct.), Valerie Rose successfully concluded a wrongful death case on behalf of the surviving husband and two children of a 46-year-old Sonoma County woman who died from a systemic infection secondary to an infected IUD. The decedent became ill shortly before Christmas 2014. Three days later, she visited a local emergency room and reported symptoms consistent with a severe infection, including abdominal cramps, body aches, chills, and a history of fever. Although in the ER for over five hours, hospital staff only recorded her temperature twice – once when she arrived (it was normal), and once right before she was discharged home at which time she had spiked a fever to 102.3 degrees. Knowing that her temperature was abnormal, the ER doctor nonetheless failed to evaluate or document her remaining vital signs. Instead, he entered an incorrect diagnosis of degenerating fibroids and sent her home. An OB/GYN specialist was available in the hospital, but the ER doctor made no attempt to obtain a consultation. The OB/GYN later testified that had she been consulted she have would hospitalized the decedent. The defendant moved for summary judgment on the issue of causation. Valerie obtained an opposing opinion from a highly qualified Stanford infectious disease specialist that the decedent would more likely than not have survived if she had been hospitalized on the date of her emergency room visit. The motion was withdrawn after this declaration was filed. The case settled at a private mediation for $1,000,000 shortly thereafter.