Hospital physicians must pay $4.5 million in patient death

April 23, 2014

Two physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital must pay the family of a Plymouth, Mass., woman $4.5 million in a settlement because they failed to take measures that might have prevented her death, reports the Boston Globe.
 
The settlement stems from the death of 62-year-old Geraldine Moran, who was cleaning her home on March 23, 2005, and fell off a 6-foot-tall ladder, breaking several ribs. She was taken to Jordan Hospital, now known as Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, where a medical scan found a cracked rib’s sharp tip dangerously close to her aorta, The Globe reported.
 
The paper reported that Moran was transported to Massachusetts General in Boston, where Alasdair Conn, MD, and George Velmahos, MD, PhD, evaluated her, but failed to order chest imaging or to assemble a trauma team to perform a reduction of the displaced rib, instead waiting until the morning to perform a chest X-ray.
 
The next morning, Moran coughed while in her hospital bed, causing the rib to go into her aorta and creating a hole in her heart, sending her into cardiac arrest. Attempts were made to clamp the aorta but she did not respond, the paper reported.