Alexandria jury returns defense verdict in med-mal trial

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 12, 2022

Alexandria jury returns defense verdict in med-mal trial

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 12, 2022

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Injuries alleged: Wrongful death

Name of case: Webster v. Amoah

Court: Alexandria Circuit Court

Case no.: CL19-1909

Tried before: Jury

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Lisa Kemler

Date resolved: 7/22/2022

Special damages: $2,300,000

Verdict or settlement: Verdict

Amount: $0 (defense)

Attorneys for defendant (and city): Michael E. Olszewski and D. Michael Faust, Fairfax

Description of case: The patient, a 66-year-old man, was admitted to a skilled nursing home on Aug.10, 2016, after being discharged from a two-week admission to the hospital for a severe stroke. In addition, the patient had generalized weakness, gait instability, type 2 diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure and dysphagia, among other things.

The defendant, an attending physician at the skilled nursing facility, performed an examination of the patient on the day of admission and ordered laboratory testing which was normal. On Aug. 23, 2016, the staff at the skilled nursing facility informed the defendant that the patient was having severe right shoulder pain. The defendant evaluated the shoulder, but did not review the patient’s chart, order laboratory tests or ensure the patient was receiving hydration. The plaintiff alleged the patient was dehydrated and lethargic during the exam.

On Aug. 24, 2016, the patient developed very low blood pressure and a low heart rate. The defendant ordered “STAT” labs that did not result for hours. When the lab results eventually came back, the defendant ordered the patient to be transferred to the hospital. Within hours, the patient passed away at the hospital.

The plaintiff argued that the defendant failed to ensure the patient was well-hydrated during the 13-day admission, and he eventually succumbed to dehydration. The defense was that the patient developed acute renal failure, not dehydration. After hearing five days of evidence and deliberating for less than two hours, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.

Michael Faust, counsel for the defendant, provided case information. [022-T-145]

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