John Jopling and Ryan Gilbert of Dell Graham recently obtained a directed verdict for their client, an emergency room physician, in a Hamilton County medical malpractice case.
Attorneys from the Willie Gary Law Group representing the plaintiff claimed that the defendant breached the standard of care in his treatment of a patient who came to the emergency room in the early morning hours, complaining of abdominal pain. Our client examined the patient, ordered tests, and developed a differential diagnosis and plan of care for the patient all within the first four hours after the patient came to the ER. Once his shift ended, another doctor took over.
In the hours that followed, however, patient began exhibiting signs of pulmonary embolism. The patient died late that evening after being transferred to Shands in Gainesville. The defense expert explained that the patient’s symptoms when she arrived at the emergency room supported the defendant doctor’s initial diagnosis of congestive heart failure. The plaintiff’s expert agreed that further tests to detect pulmonary embolism, which were not available in the early morning hours when the defendant was caring for the patient, could have reasonably been done by the next emergency room doctor when they became available.
The case was presented to a jury over three days. However, at the conclusion of all the evidence, Jopling and Gilbert submitted a motion requesting that the judge rule in favor of the defendant because there was no evidence that could lead a reasonable jury to find the defendant liable. The judge agreed and granted the motion, entering final judgment in favor of Dell Graham’s client.