Few people die of kidney stones despite the excruciating pain of the condition.
Olga Sanchez was the exception.
She died at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah on May 4, 2011, her 50th birthday. Doctors cleared her for kidney stone surgery despite a known bleeding disorder.
A Miami-Dade Circuit Court jury awarded $2 million to Sanchez’s family in a verdict handed down Wednesday.
Sanchez was admitted to the hospital after complaints of flank pain and blood in her urine.
She was represented by Stuart Ratzan, partner, and Stuart J. Weissman, an associate, at the Ratzan Law Group in Miami.
“Jury verdicts like this help make our community and our health care system safer for all of us,” Ratzan said.
The hospital argued at trial the hematologist and pathologist were independent contractors, and it was not responsible for the professionals. Ratzan told the jury the hospital was responsible for those doctors.
“The reason this is a groundbreaking kind of verdict is because of the issue of nondelegable duty,” he said. “In this case, the issue was tried and given to the jury on both contract grounds and on statutory grounds. The jury agreed with us on both grounds and found the hospital legally responsible for the negligence of its independent contracting doctors.”
The six-member jury deliberated 5½ hours before handing down the compensatory damage award. The lawsuit was filed against Lifemark Hospitals of Florida Inc., a subsidiary of Tennet Healthcare Corp., which owns Palmetto Hospital.
Sanchez had a rare bleeding disorder known as acquired Factor VIII inhibitor. Her condition worsened after the procedure.
Hospital attorney Jonathan Abel of Conroy, Simberg Ganon, Krevans & Abel in Hollywood did not return a call for comment by deadline. The hospital also had no comment.