An Etowah County jury today returned a $4 million verdict against Gadsden Regional Medical Center for the wrongful acts of one of their nurses. The case was tried by Marsh Rickard & Bryan attorneys Derrick Mills .
The case grew out of the death of 76 year old Shirley Cockrell of Piedmont, Alabama. Ms.Cockrell underwent throat surgery at GRMC on June 20, 2018. At discharge, Ms. Cockrell was spitting up a large amount of blood, so much that she and her sister were concerned. They asked the discharge nurse if she could be evaluated by a doctor before leaving. The discharge nurse never notified the surgeon or any other physicians about the family’s request. The discharge nurse also told the family Ms. Cockrell could not stay at the hospital and had to go home.
After discharge, Ms. Cockrell continued to bleed and died at home about 2 1/2 hours later that afternoon.
GRMC attorneys defended the case by arguing Ms. Cockrell really was not bleeding enough to worry about.at the time of discharge.
Derrick argued that the discharge nurse did not follow the hospital’s own policy that required her to respond to a reasonable request for service, to observe the patient for at least an hour and by failing to notify a physician.
According to Derrick, “With this verdict, the jury sent a clear signal that hospitals must listen to their patients and must follow their own policies”.