Family Wins Trial After Woman Dies Unexpectedly Following ER
It was also unclear whether the woman was suffering any rectal bleeds that day at the hospital but she also began vomiting blood at the hospital before becoming unresponsive. Medical records indicated "copious" amounts of blood, but at a deposition the doctor couldn't estimate exactly how much. At trial, however, McManus said the doctor estimated it was just a cup and a half. McManus also questioned why the bloody vomit was never tested.
The attorney filed a medical malpractice lawsuit on the family's behalf against Bristol Hospital and Dr. Wagner. There were never any settlement negotiations, according to McManus, and the case proceeded to trial in September in New Britain Superior Court before Judge Cynthia Swienton. Testimony took eight days.
Defending Dr. Wagner was Robert E. Kiley, of DanaherLagnese in Hartford. Kiley declined to discuss the case last week, but noted he was preparing post-trial motions. Bristol Hospital was defended by Albert "Chip" Danker Jr., of O'Brien, Tanski & Young in Hartford. Danker did not return repeated calls for comment.
Several medical experts testified at the trial. McManus' main expert was Dr. Peter Paige, an emergency room doctor from Worcester, Mass., who stated that Bristol Hospital and Dr. Wagner violated the standard of care owed Drezek when it failed to provide the woman with IV fluids.
A nurse from Springfield, Mass. testified for the hospital and two doctors from Connecticut were called as expert witnesses in Wagner's defense. Those doctors essentially argued that there were not clear signs that Drezek was hypovolemic from low blood pressure due to blood loss, and thus there was no indication she needed fluids.
Dr. Wagner and nurses claim they checked on Drezek moments before she lost consciousness. McManus said that was untrue and pointed out that medical records indicate that David Drezek angrily confronted the nurses at 4:10 p.m., but resuscitation efforts did not occur until 4:25 p.m. The defendants argued that the times were just incorrectly entered into medical records.
"I think the jury had a hard time believing the defendants' claims that the medical records didn't mean what they said," said McManus. "If everybody agrees this lady needs to be monitored, why the heck doesn't anybody respond to her? Why does it take the husband to run out and track people down?"
The jury ultimately awarded $2.5 million in non-economic damages and $26,500 in economic damages. The jury found Dr. Wagner to be 60 percent at fault and Bristol Hospital 40 percent liable.
McManus said Marion Drezek was very close with her family. She left behind her husband, two adult daughters and a sister who lived in the same duplex with her. "The family's pleased just to have closure," said McManus. "Nothing made any sense to them from the day this woman died."•