Morrison Mahoney partners Noel Dumas and Caroline Smith recently obtained a defense verdict following a ten-day medical malpractice jury trial in Bristol Superior Court.

The trial was a medical malpractice case involving a patient that presented to the hospital due to stroke-like symptoms. Upon presenting to the ER, the patient was seen by an emergency room physician and a neurologist. The neurologist ordered an MRI/MRA along with other stroke work-up. Our client was the hospitalist who saw the patient once admitted. The Plaintiff alleged that our hospitalist failed to obtain and check on the MRI/MRA and failed to send the patient out to tertiary hospital for endovascular treatment. Unfortunately, the patient had a sudden change of condition during the next morning and was transferred to a different hospital where he died. The MRI/MRA was not completed prior to the patient’s sudden change and transfer.

We argued that the hospitalist complied with the standard of care as there was no need to emergently order a MRI or MRA, nor was there a need for the hospitalist to immediately transfer the patient to a tertiary hospital for endovascular treatment. We argued that the MRI/MRA is not an urgent study in this setting of stroke, but rather is used to find the source and extent of the stroke and to guide future long-term treatment/secondary prevention. We argued that the sudden change on the next morning could not have been anticipated by the hospitalist on the prior day. Rather, this was an acute change in condition that would not have been seen on MRI/MAR, even if these studies were completed the day prior. The jury was out for a few hours and rendered a verdict in favor of the hospitalist.