$14M Verdict in Plaintiffs’ Second Bid to Try Wrongful Death Claim

A jury handed up a $14 million verdict Monday against two Philadelphia hospitals for fatally botching the intubation of a 4-year-old patient…law.com, Jury Awards $14M Verdict in Plaintiffs’ Second Bid to Try Wrongful Death Claims Against CHOP, Dec 2023

 

The jurors determined that the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the sole defendant at trial, held most of the responsibility (67%) for Samuel Munoz’s death at an Einstein Medical Center satellite hospital in Elkins Park. Einstein, meanwhile, was only 33% liable, the jury found.

 

The plaintiffs, represented by James Beasley Jr. of the Beasley Firm, lodged a successful appeal of the nonsuit and scored a second chance to try their claims against CHOP. This time, the trial was held in full and ended in a multimillion-dollar verdict against CHOP.

 

According to the plaintiffs’ pretrial memo, Munoz died as a result of failed efforts to intubate him while he was a patient at Einstein. The plaintiffs claimed that the day before, Einstein had prematurely discharged Munoz without properly investigating his complaints of fever and abnormal vital signs. Munoz returned the next day with worsened symptoms, and Einstein called for a CHOP transport team.

 

Two CHOP nurses arrived at the scene and directed the Einstein providers to begin intubating Munoz, but the efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

 

The plaintiffs alleged that the CHOP “stood by and watched” Munoz die and that the children’s hospital should have sent a pediatric specialty physician with the team to manage Munoz’s care.

 

CHOP contended that Munoz was not its patient when he died and that it did not have a duty to send a physician with its transport team. CHOP argued that Einstein was responsible for Munoz’s death and sought a verdict form that would allow the jury to apportion liability to all defendants regardless of whether they had already settled.

 

But even with partial liability allotted to Einstein, the jury’s verdict leaves CHOP on the hook for about $9.4 million, which Beasley said will grow to about $11.5 million if the court accepts his petition for delay damages.

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