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Late Radiologist’s Estate Hit In $1.25 Million Verdict

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The estate of a deceased Michigan radiologist and the practice for which he worked were ordered last month to pay $1.25 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit stemming from the death of a 3-day-old infant girl.

However, a confidential settlement that followed the verdict may have changed the payout.

The radiologist, Darrel Rosen, MD, of East Grand Rapids, died at home in May 2012, four months before the malpractice lawsuit was filed. He was 63 years old. Dr. Rosen had worked for Kent Radiology.

A juror who asked not to be identified told WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids that Dr. Rosen played “a very small part, and that was the hardest part, trying to figure out if he would have done his job properly would it [the death] have been prevented.”

The juror said she talked to the parents of the baby after the verdict:

They had stated quite clearly that it was not the money they were looking for. They wanted closure, and they got their closure. They got it to where they had told me it was something that they just needed—’We needed someone else to validate our feelings on the case.’

A Kent County Circuit Court jury in Grand Rapids made the award last month in the case of the death of Sage Elliana Gilbert, daughter of Christopher and Angelina Gilbert, according to the MLive.com news website. Sage was born prematurely at 34 weeks of gestation on June 4, 2009, but was otherwise healthy. She weighed 5 pounds.

On the day she was born, Sage was being fed through an umbilical venous catheter. The lawsuit said X-rays taken nine minutes after a nurse practitioner inserted the catheter showed that the tip was in Sage’s heart. According to the lawsuit, Dr. Rosen read the X-rays, reported no abnormalities, and mentioned nothing about the catheter or its improper placement.

The lawsuit alleged that the catheter placement caused fluid buildup around Sage’s heart. The infant went into cardiac arrest on June 7 and could not be resuscitated. An autopsy was inconclusive.

The jury decided that Dr. Rosen’s failure to note the incorrect catheter placement did not directly cause Sage’s death. However, it said his actions did constitute negligence, which did contribute to the death.

After the verdict, John Tallman, the attorney who brought the lawsuit on behalf of Sage’s parents, said he and his clients couldn’t comment because of a confidential settlement agreement reached after the trial.

The hospital where Sage was born and died reached a settlement with the family without going to trial.

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Related CME Seminar (up to 25.25 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): UCSF Interventional Radiology Review

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