Weirton Medical Center has released the following statement:
“This lawsuit was from 2012 and arose out of an unfortunate medical error for which the hospital took full responsibility. We believe the verdict was unreasonable and excessive. The verdict is being appealed. We stress that patient safety is, and always will be, paramount at WMC.”
A Brooke County jury has found Weirton Medical Center liable in the death of a patient, and awarded the victim’s family $3.5 million in compensatory damages back in May.
The jury also assessed $2 million in punitive damages against the hospital.
Fitzsimmons Law Firm attorneys Bob Fitzsimmons and Brent Wear obtained the jury verdict against the hospital.
According to the Amended Complaint, Weirton Medical Center had altered and concealed the fatal events that led to the patient’s death in his medical records. The report says that this was in an attempt to cover up the negligence and time the patient suffered.
According to an official report, the claim came from reckless medical treatment rendered to the plaintiff’s husband, resulting in untimely and wrongful death.
The report states that the patient was initially admitted to the hospital for pneumonia. The patient was then reportedly improperly intubated into his esophagus, depriving him of oxygen.
During the trial, there was testimony that the CRNA who improperly intubated the patient was told that the breathing tube was not placed properly, but the CRNA disregarded the warnings and left the room, leaving the patient to suffocate to death.
Evidence was also presented during the trial that Weirton Medical Center fraudulently changed the patient’s medical records after his death to conceal the length of time that the patient’s breathing tube was left in his esophagus.
The hospital also reportedly failed to complete a mandatory Incident Report.
“Negligent medical practices are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. We should all expect competent medical care for ourselves and loved ones,” said Bob Fitzsimmons.
“When hospitals and doctors needlessly endanger patients, we expect them to be held accountable just like everyone else. This jury’s verdict sends a strong message that such reckless treatment and care will not be tolerated in our communities.”
7News has reached out to Weirton Medical Center for comment.