concept - medical negligence sepsis case-file

DISCLAIMER: Dr. Dalawari shares interesting and relevant medical-legal case verdicts & settlements from the public record. He has no professional or personal relationship to the cases.

Case Reference:

The jury found that hotel defendants did not commit medical negligence, that the physician was not the hotel’s agent, and that the hotel defendants were not responsible for the actions of the physician. However, the jury determined that the hotel defendants were negligent in failing to properly vet the physician, and assessed 55% liability against the physician; 5% liability against the two defendants, and the 35% comparative negligence against the decedent. Plaintiff was awarded $130,400. Jose G. Bernal as PR of the Estate of Maria Del Carmen Barbosa v. Ramsey Saffouri, D.O., Starwood Hotels & ResortsWorldwide, Inc. and W. Hotel Management, Inc. Miami-Dade County (FL) Circuit Court No. 2011-27847CA59. Manuel A.Reboso of Rossman Baumberger Reboso & Spier, P.A., Miami, FL; Lincoln Connolly of Lincoln J. Connolly Trials & Appeals,P.A., Miami, FL for plaintiff. Maria E. Dalmanieras, Peter R. Restani, and Charles M.P. George of Boyd Richards Parker &Colonnelli, Miami, FL for defendants.

Keywords:

medical negligence, negligence, independent physician, infection, sepsis, hotel house doctor, treatment

Case Overview

The plaintiff’s decedent, a forty-four-year-old woman, was a guest at a hotel.

According to her husband, his wife received negligent medical care from the defendant hotel’s “house doctor” and that the defendants were liable for the physician’s negligence under an agency theory.

Plaintiff alleged defendant failed to timely diagnose and treat an infection, which resulted in decedent’ death one week later from sepsis.

Defendants denied the allegations and contended that it was a hotel and not a medical provider, therefore, could not be held liable for medical negligence.

Hotel "House Doctor" Deemed an Independent Contractor.

Guests of a hotel, a married couple, took advantage of the hotel's "house doctor," an independent contractor with his own house call company.

The couple claimed medical negligence of the physician who failed to diagnose and treat the wife's infection, which resulted in sepsis and death one week later.

The hotel denied responsibility for the physician's actions because they were not a medical provider. Also, the hotel claimed that the physician was not an employee and had no affiliation.

The husband argued that the physician charged $6,375 to his credit card for a 15-20 minute in-room visit after signing a blank credit card slip and agreeing to the physician's fee of $800.

They are additionally stating that the physician paid hotel concierges $150 to $300 for each hotel guest treated without informing the hotel guests.

Jury Determines Responsibility is Split.

The jury found the hotel did not commit medical negligence; the physician was not an employee and not responsible for the actions of the physician.

However, the hotel was negligent in inadequately verifying the qualifications of the physician.

The jury determined that the physician was 55% liable, 35% of the married couple, and 5% of the hotel.

The couple's decision to use the physician's services at the hotel should have been followed up with their primary physician or another nearby medical facility.

The physician was unable to make an accurate diagnosis or provide the necessary treatment. He possibly provided the wife with a prescription for an antibiotic to treat the infection.

However, when the wife's symptoms became worse, the decision to seek treatment at a medical facility or hospital was necessary to diagnose and treat her condition properly.

They are liable for not receiving the proper follow-up care, especially with the wife's deterioration, and accepting the treatment of the hotel's "house doctor" with a severe infection that caused her death so quickly.

The couple was unaware of the physician's credentials, skills, or experience.

The husband was also irresponsible when signing a blank credit card slip from the physician without knowing the exact amount or allocation of the fees since the physician only spent at most 20 minutes with the wife.

They were also unaware that the physician paid the concierges upwards of hundreds of dollars.

 

Hotel is Responsible for Verifying Physician Qualifications.

The jury determined that the hotel had some responsibility in the medical negligence of the physician who treated the wife.

Although not a medical facility, the hotel allowed the physician to provide services to guests without knowledge of his credentials, experience, or the process of services offered, such as having guests sign blank credit card slips for fees much more than agreed.

Despite the physician working as an independent contractor or affiliation with the hotel, the hotel should have determined some policies in the allowance of treating guests.

The physician had an obligation to provide guests superior services under the medical oath he swore.

As a physician, he should have referred the wife to an immediate medical facility to treat a severe infection and at the minimum follow-up or allow the guests to contact him if his prescribed treatments were ineffective.

 

DISCLAIMER: Dr. Dalawari shares interesting and relevant medical-legal case verdicts & settlements from the public record. He has no professional or personal relationship to the cases.

Do you have questions about a medical case or need help understanding treatment plans and options?

Cardio Med Legal Dr. Jasdeep Dalawari

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Jasdeep Dalawari MD

About Jasdeep Dalawari MD

Experienced General and Specialist Physician with a demonstrated history of working in the medical practice industry. Skilled in Interventional, Endovascular, Vascular, and General Cardiovascular Medicine; Emergency Medicine; Healthcare Consulting, including Peer Review, Expert Witness, and Utilization Review; and Medical Education. Strong healthcare services professional with an MS focused in Health Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.