An eight-person jury deliberated for four hours after a five-day federal court trial in the Eastern District of Missouri, unanimously siding with our hospital client and an emergency room physician sued for medical malpractice by a teenager who suffered a severe bacterial infection after a piece of a broken stick remained lodged in his leg.
At trial, Plaintiff claimed the physician negligently failed to find and remove the piece of wood, resulting in infection and necrotizing fasciitis, and additionally failed to order an ultrasound at a second hospital visit to look for a foreign body, or to admit the boy to the hospital to provide additional IV antibiotics. Defendants denied the physician was negligent during either visit and further denied that the wood piece caused the infection and necrotizing fasciitis.
Plaintiff’s claim against the hospital was based on vicarious liability for the physician’s conduct as a purported employee of the hospital. The hospital denied the physician was its employee, or that that hospital was responsible for the physician’s conduct, and maintained the physician was an independent contractor.
Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award over $1.3 million for past and future pain and suffering, and future economic damages of lost earnings. The jury returned a verdict in favor of all defendants.