On May 29, 2014, Clark Hudson and David Burke concluded a four week jury trial (after the jury deliberated for one week) - resulting in a hung jury.  The case involved a 47-year-old patient that experience an aortic dissection.  The patient was initially admitted to the hospital for work-up for possible aortic dissection.  During that work up the defendant Gastroenterologist was asked to consult for rectal bleeding and acute liver failure.  Given the severity of the liver failure, the Gastroenterologist arranged for an urgent transfer to UCSD for possible liver transplant.  The patient died of aortic dissection within 48 hours of transfer.

The admitting hospitalist settled prior to trial, and in the process blamed the defendant Gastroenterologist for not completing the work up for possible aortic dissection.  Additional complicating factors included the fact the patient earned between $700,000 - $1,000,000 annually and had a family history of aortic dissection (with his father dying of the same complication four years prior to the patient's illness).  The jury hung 8-4 on Standard of Care (in favor of the defense) and were 9-3 in favor of the defense on causation.  The plaintiff had requested the jury to award more than $8,000,000 in damages.  As a result of the jury hanging in the defense favor, the result was a favorable conclusion for the defendant Gastroenterologist.  The jury's polling also provided vindication for the defendant knowing that even despite being blamed for the patient's death by the admitting hospitalist, the jury was able to conclude the defendant was not responsible.

Clark R. Hudson is a shareholder at Neil Dymott Hudson and concentrates his practice on the defense of healthcare professionals and general litigation.  Mr. Hudson may be reached at (619) 238-1712.

David P. Burke is a shareholder at Neil Dymott Hudson. His areas of practice include appellate law, the defense of healthcare professionals and general civil litigation. Mr. Burke may be reached at (619) 238-1712.