A jury awarded $2.4 million in damages to the family of a Florida man whose doctor failed to properly treat him for a fatal autoimmune disorder.
A few years ago, retired police officer Jerry Pettigrossi had been admitted to Northwest Medical Center in hopes that doctors would be able to diagnose and treat the ongoing symptoms he had been experiencing. Upon admittance, the 72-year-old informed hospital staff and assigned physician Dr. Ajaib Mann of the emergence of symptoms such as rubbery legs and weakness all over the body.
Deeming these symptoms as a cause for concern, the emergency room doctor ordered that Pettigrossi be temporarily placed in the telemetry unit - a place where patients are put under continuous electronic monitoring. But according to his Pettigrossi family's attorney, an attending physician filling in for Dr. Mann suggested he be placed on a regular medical floor. When Dr. Mann returned, he decided to leave the assignment as the other doctor had ordered.
Pettigrossi stayed on the regular medical floor for three days before hospital staff began to notice adverse changes in his body. The weakness he had been feeling had submerged his arms and legs, leaving him paralyzed. By the end of his third day of being in the hospital, Pettigrossi was unable to hold a telephone or feed himself. That evening, a floor nurse who routinely checked on the man noticed that his blood pressure and heart rate had spiked. She immediately notified Dr. Mann. When he caught wind of this information he ordered that Pettigrossi consult a cardiologist, he never made time to personally examine his patient. No one had noticed the man's progressing paralysis before he died the next morning.
According to his widow, Ann Pettigrossi's lawyers, his death was completely preventable. They argue that the man's symptoms were telltale indicators of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder that causes the immune system to attack the nerves. The lawsuit claims that if the man had been placed in an intensive care unit, he could have been diagnosed and treated before the progression of the paralysis reached his vital organs. But instead he was placed in a unit where he wasn't closely monitored, and was basically left to die, they claim. Also Dr. Mann's inability to diagnose this disorder within the first consultation led Pettigrossi's family and lawyers to believe that he had fallen below the standard of care. As a result, the family decided to sue the doctor.
Dr. Mann testified under oath claiming that he didn't have the time to research the man's symptoms. And the defense shifted the blame on multiple people involved, from the nurse who noted Pettigrossi's soaring heart rate, to the attending physician who initially made the order to place him on the regular medical floor.
But the jury ultimately assigned Dr. Mann 85% of the liability, while the nurse was assigned with the remaining 15% of liability.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the carelessness of hospital staff or a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation. Attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian are willing to advocate for you while you recover from your injuries. Call their office at (800) 529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.