January 23, 2012
Jacksonville Jury finds HCA-Memorial Negligent, Fraudulent- Awards Family $178 MILLION
A lawsuit conducted in Duval County Circuit Court against Memorial Hospital concluded today when the jury awarded Clay Chandler and his family $ 10 Million in punitive damages. This amount is in addition to the $168 million in liability this jury awarded last Friday. In addition to the compensation awarded, the jury found that Memorial Hospital committed medical negligence and fraud in the Chandler case. This verdict is one of the largest seen in Northeast Florida and the charge of fraud is a rare occurrence in a civil case.
Clay Chandler, a former Lieutenant in the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, was a patient at Memorial Hospital between March and May 2007. He was admitted to Memorial Hospital to undergo laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery under the care of Dr. John Deperi. Complications arising from the surgery were severe and went undiagnosed or treated in a timely manner causing Chandler to go into cardiac arrest and septic shock. He ultimately suffered a hypoxic brain injury and was in a coma from March 17, 2007 through approximately April 4, 2007. While Chandler was in ICU in a comatose state, physician orders directed health care personnel to apply two drops to both eyes every 8 hours for three days. Hospital records indicate that only two applications of drops to his eyes were performed. During that period Chandler’s eyes were described as being red with drainage and edema, and he suffered permanent damage to both corneas. While a patient in Memorial’s critical care unit, he also suffered contractures (frozen joints) and bedsores “ all due to a lack of basic human care and absolutely below the standard of care for which hospitals are universally responsible.