Sierra Vista Hospital loses $4 million lawsuit

March 6, 2014

lawsuit22A 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.


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Hmmm, defendant’s lie, defendant’s are dumb and defendant’s are guilty. If they didn’t have anything to hide, then why would they lie! Such an upstanding organization

I don’t know all the facts (or even the claims) in this case but I am leery of any rush to judgment for medical deaths generally. While there are too many deaths due to substandard medical care, there are also unrealistic expectations of those who provide medical care.

The human body is extremely complex and sometimes that complexity can confound even the most knowledgeable experts. Medicine is not a perfected science and there are going to be some “mistakes” that are unavoidable in most circumstances. Most hospitals can’t afford to meet the standards of a TV docudrama in diagnosis and treating every condition even when the practitioners have the competence to do so.

It is one thing to sue for an obvious and clear case of negligence where routine processes are not followed. It is another to expect that every conceivable complication can be anticipated and countered. Good medicine is expensive. Great medicine is extremely expensive and not always available when needed. Perfect medicine is non-existent except in people’s imagination.

If we are to put pressure on medical providers it should be to follow reasonable standards and not make mistakes like misreading instructions/prescriptions, operating on the wrong area or patient and improper care due to caregivers being under the influence. Coverups are not good either but may be caused by the reluctance to face lawsuits with little or no justification.

Good viewpoint. My only comment would be the cost of medicine. I think you may have added that bad medicine is also very expensive too.

Wow, this story changed quite a lot. Remember this from the earlier article?: “Sierra Vista obtained a bogus autopsy report from a questionable physician in order to blame the cause of death on a fatty liver instead of a post-operative hematoma.

The attending physician at the hospital, Dr. Rushdi Cader, said the cause of death was a hematoma that resulted in respiratory failure, according to a 2012 ruling by Judge Charles Crandall. An autopsy performed by Dr. George Vandermark found that the death was the result of liver issues.

However, a second autopsy ordered by Sara Taylor found a post-operative hematoma caused the death.

The suit contends that hospital staff conspired to hide the true cause of death.”

SOOO, $4M paid out, but no real punishment for the original issue (ignoring his “hard to breathe” concern) or for the bogus cause of death found?

With over 110,000 people killed every year in the US by medical industry MISTAKES, I think it’s time we start the whippings. Missed an opportunity here.

Going to a hospital is more dangerous than driving when it comes to the fatality count.