Attorneys for Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky recently declared victory when an Erie County jury found in the hospital’s favor in a case of medical malpractice brought by the estate of a woman who suffered a debilitating stroke while in the hospital’s care. But this attorney “success story” obscures something much more troubling to the community – the jury’s unanimous finding that Firelands’ nurses did not provide their patient with reasonable care.
In the recent trial, Murray and Murray partner and board-certified trial advocate Charlie Murray represented the estate of the patient, Mary Gallagher, who was a patient at Firelands for post-surgical evaluation. While an inpatient at Firelands, Mary’s blood pressure and pulse dropped dangerously low, causing her to suffer a serious stroke. The stroke caused Mary to lose her ability to participate in activies of daily living until she later passed away. During the ensuing trial against Firelands, the jury unanimously agreed that Firelands was negligent when its nurses fell well below the standard of care in monitoring Mary’s condition. Firelands received a favorable verdict when the jury could not agree that this lapse was the direct cause of Mary’s stroke.
When it came to light that Firelands’ attorneys considered this result a success, Murray was troubled. “Negligence on the part of the hospital is never a success,” Murray explained. The finding of negligence – and the hospital’s portrayal of this result as a success – underscores why Murray and Murray attorneys continue to work hard to expose instances of medical negligence within the community.
But Mary’s story doesn’t end here. The trial judge in the case realized that the jury was confused about the cause of the stroke in part because hearsay testimony was inadvertently admitted, and he ordered a new trial in the case. This ruling will give Mary’s family, and the Murray and Murray firm, another opportunity to hold Firelands’ accountable for its preventable mistakes.
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