$12 Million Awarded to Tucson Woman in Malpractice Case

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A jury in Tucson awarded $12 million dollars a woman in a vegetative state in a malpractice lawsuit.

In over a decade this case against the University of Arizona Health Network, now Banner-University Medical Center Tucson has been the largest medical malpractice in Pima County.

Esmeralda Tripp was on Coumadin, a blood thinner medication, and had a history of seizures.

On Sept. 13, 2013 Tripp made a visit to the emergency room. According to Jamaica Tripp-Serrano, Tripp’s daughter, said she went by herself and had been to the same emergency room numerous times due to the same reoccurring issue. During these visits Tripp was usually treated with a shot of vitamin K or plasma and then she would be released. “That was the routine,” stated Tripp-Serrano.

According to Tripp’s lawyers the doctor who treated her had just been out of medical school for 8 weeks and administered the drug Profilnine. Unfortunately, Tripp suffered from blood clots and a heart attack that caused permanent brain damage just hours after her visit.

Less than 2 months after the occurrence Esmeralda was taken back home.

“Look at the outcome,” said Tripp-Serrano. “Look at my mom – she’s no longer my mom. She doesn’t talk, she doesn’t walk, but she’s here and we know she’s here she’s listening to us right now.”

Tripp lives in her families 8×8 den, her four children have taken on the primary role as care givers. She responds to her husband, children and seven grandchildren by restricted facial expressions and hand movements.

“She’s our queen, she’s our world, she’s our rock,” stated Tripp-Serrano.

The trial, which lasted three weeks started in October. The jury deliberated for over three and a half hours until a verdict was decided. “We received a unanimous jury verdict. Every single person on that jury agreed with us and wanted to help Esmeralda and her family,” said attorney for Tripp, Brian Snyder

This statement was released by the attorneys for Banner UMC:

We are truly sorry for the medical outcome that occurred for Ms. Tripp and her family. Yet, we believe these physicians acted in good faith and with sound medical judgment based on the information provided to them. When Ms. Tripp came to the emergency room on September 13, 2013, she provided inaccurate information to her emergency physicians about her health history. This included major health events and a drug allergy that could not be substantiated despite a thorough review of her medical records. She also admitted to taking blood thinners at four times the level that was prescribed to her. No one expects to have an emergency medical situation, but a patient’s knowledge and willingness to provide the most accurate information about symptoms, health history, current medications and allergies is paramount to an emergency physician’s ability to deliver the right care in the safest manner.

A study from Johns Hopkins University theorizes medical errors are the third foremost cause of death in the country.

 

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