Ohio jury issues $636,000 verdict in malpractice suit

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An Ohio jury recently sided with an elderly man in his medical malpractice lawsuit, awarding $636,000 in damages.

Following a roughly one-week trial, the jury found that Dr. David C. Stachel was negligent in his care and treatment of Russell Johnson.

In 2013, 40 lawsuits claiming medical negligence were filed before rising to 46 in 2015 and declining to 32 in 2016. Last year, 37 medical malpractice cases were filed. Another 30 have been filed so far this year.

The trial stemmed from when Johnson was left alone on the toilet by a nursing home staff member and fell onto the floor, fracturing his hip, according to the complaint filed in the case by the plaintiff. The fall occurred on Aug. 28, 2013, when Johnson was 79 years old.

The lawsuit contended that in the months preceding the fall, Stachel had failed to adequately assess Johnson’s “risk for falls, develop a reasonable care plan to prevent falls and to enter appropriate orders given (Johnson’s) underlying conditions, prior fall and functional limitations.”

As a result, Johnson’s attorney said in court papers that her client fell on Aug. 28, 2013 and suffered injury, pain and suffering, disability “and significant medical expenses which will continue into the future.”

Jurors found that following the 2013 fall and subsequent negative X-ray, “Dr. Stachel failed to timely assess by examination (Johnson’s) left hip and leg region, considering an increase in pain medication and usage and significant change in transfer ability,” according to court records.

“As a result of this,” jurors found, “there was a delay in further testing and treatment that a reasonably careful physician would order.”

The lawsuit had been refiled in 2017 after a 2015 lawsuit against Stachel, a nursing home and radiologist who interpreted the X-ray was confidentially settled with two of the defendants but not the doctor.