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Home / Verdicts & Settlements / Nurse practitioner failed to advise re blood clot possibility – $3.5 Million Verdict

Nurse practitioner failed to advise re blood clot possibility – $3.5 Million Verdict

A nurse practitioner (who was a personal friend of the decedent) failed to refer the decedent to a hospital emergency room on a Sunday afternoon for suspected DVT. The nurse practitioner conceded that DVT was number 1 on her differential diagnosis, but she effectively ruled it out as a consideration because of the 45-year-old decedent’s history of knee arthritis. The nurse practitioner did not tell the patient or her husband, who was present, that a blood clot was a consideration. Approximately 15 hours later, the 45-year-old high school biology teacher, mother of two, died of a pulmonary embolism.
There was a private autopsy the day of death. The pathologist described in gross detail in his report and his deposition the status of the decedent’s gallbladder, among other things. Following his deposition it was confirmed that her gallbladder had been removed in 1987. Plaintiff nonsuited, got a second pathologist from the state of Georgia and petitioned the court to exhume the body for a second forensic autopsy. Following the court order granting the exhumation, the Georgia pathologist left his job because of allegations he had falsified his time records while working for the state of Georgia while he was doing private testifying expert witness business. Plaintiff retained a third pathologist, the chief medical examiner for the state of Maryland. He did not find blood clot remnant in the symptomatic leg but did find a clot in the asymptomatic leg.
Defendants’ insurance company was ProAd.


Type of action: Medical Malpractice

Injuries alleged: Wrongful Death

Name of case: Shook v. Cook

Court: Nottoway County Circuit Court

Case no.: CL 15-168

Tried before: Jury

Name of judge or mediator: Hon. Paul Cella

Date resolved: Aug. 25, 2017

Special damages: $17,969 medical and funeral expenses; $1,950,803 lost earnings and benefits

Verdict or settlement: Verdict

Amount: $3,500,000

Attorneys for plaintiff: Frank Hilton and Tripp Franklin, Harrisonburg

Attorneys for defendant: David Shulmister, MD (emergency medicine), John Feigert, MD (hematology), Larry Lynch, PhD. (economist), Sandra Steele (nurse practitioner), Cindy Miller (nurse practitioner), Dr. David Fowler (forensic hematologist)

Plaintiff’s experts: Bruce Janiak, MD (emergency medicine), Thomas Butler, MD (hematology), Jere Kitchen (nurse practitioner), Joseph Moskal, MD (orthopedics), Kevin Cooper, MD (pulmonology), Trice Gravatte (family medicine)