In a surprising twist in a major medical malpractice case in New York, a nurse was found not liable a week following her decision to settle the case for $1 million.
The case involved a woman from Ireland who flew to the United States to get a facelift from a high-profile plastic surgeon that she had read about in a newspaper.
Hours after the surgery, the woman suffered a cardiac arrest at the plastic surgeon’s clinic and was rushed to the hospital where she was declared brain dead. Two days later, she was taken off of life support and died. Her family, who did not know she had gone to New York for the surgery, sued the plastic surgeon, his nurse, and the anesthesiologist.
Prior to trial, the plastic surgeon settled with the family for $2.1 million. The case proceeded to trial against the nurse and the anesthesiologist. At trial, the plaintiffs alleged several instances of negligence.
For example, right after surgery, the anesthesiologist left the patient in the care of a nurse who did not know how to use an endotracheal tube. The plaintiff’s also alleged that the nurse failed to call 911 in time.
The nurse settled with the family for $1 million during jury deliberations. When the jury returned from deliberations, they were unaware that the nurse had settled and rendered a verdict clearing both the nurse and the anesthesiologist of liability.
While the jury did find some instances in which the parties had failed in their professional duties, they ruled that those failures did not play a substantial role in the patient’s death.