After a long legal battle, Andrea Tate will receive a $44 million award as a result of medical malpractice. Tate experienced a brain hemorrhage while receiving treatment at the hospital. Despite attempts on both sides to settle the matter out of court, the case eventually made its way before a jury. After hearing all the details of the case and listening to witness testimony, the jury ruled that the hospital was 65% liable for Tate’s situation and that the doctor who treated her was 35% liable. The trial took place over 13 days and the jury deliberated for 7 hours before returning to the court room with their verdict.
Andrea Tate was in the hospital receiving treatment for benign brain tumor when she developed a strong reaction to Heparin, the anticoagulant the medical team was treating her with. As a result of the reaction, Tate suffered severe brain damage that has left her paralyzed. Although Tate and her lawyer are pleased with the jury’s decision, the University hospital isn’t. They warned that they plan to appeal the verdict when they issued a formal statement about the case. “We are disappointed in today’s verdict and continue to believe that appropriate care was provided. We plan to appeal this unfortunate decision.”
The case, Tate v. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, is significant because it represents one of the highest medical malpractice verdicts in the state. The state’s largest verdict the previous year was a $22 million verdict that was issued to the plaintiff in a Delaware County medical malpractice case. In 2014, the biggest Pennsylvania medical malpractice verdict was Lehigh County verdict of $55 million award.
Robert Ross handled the case for the plaintiff. It’s his belief that had the staff tasked with caring for Tate been paying closer attention, they would have noticed that the way she reacted to the Heparin and realized she was at a high risk for a brain hemorrhage and been able to take the steps needed to minimize the damage. Tests taken following Tate’s surgery indicated that Tate’s coagulation rapidly went from low to dangerously high.
“Instead of stopping the heparin at that point, here’s what they did, they just stopped testing,” Ross said. “Three days later, they find her virtually comatose. She had a massive bleed in her head.”
Dr. Maureen McCunn who was caring for Tate at the time, felt that the dosage was correct. In a pretrial memo, the doctor argued that the hemorrhage was in fact caused by the surgery and not the Heparian Tate was administered.
birth injury attorney Drew Warren wasn’t involved in the Tate v. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania case but he is pleased by the results. “It appears to me that juries are beginning to fully understand the nature of medical malpractice cases and are determined to make the medical facility take responsibility for their actions, something that should encourage members of the medical profession to be more diligent about monitoring and caring for their patients.”