Sierra Vista Hospital loses $4 million lawsuit
March 6, 2014
A San Luis Obispo County jury awarded the family of a 42-year-old man who died from surgical complications at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center $4 million.
The jury agreed that the hospital attempted to hide the cause of death of 42-year-old Tyrone Taylor of Arroyo Grande. In early 2010, Dr. Donald Ramberg performed an operation to remove a herniated disc in Taylor’s neck. Taylor died the next day of a hematoma that resulted in respiratory failure.
However, a pathologist hired by the hospital found that the death was the result of liver issues.
During a pre-trial hearing, Judge Charles Crandall ruled the plaintiffs could seek punitive damages. Compensatory damages are designed to reimburse plaintiffs for pain and suffering and financial losses while punitive damages allow the judge to punish the defendant for egregious conduct or gross negligence.
Nevertheless, the jury did not find that the hospital committed malpractice and it did not award punitive damages.