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Case Style: James H. Bennett, Personal Representative of the Estate of Hazel F. Lowe, Deceased, v. Baptist Healthcare of Oklahoma, Inc., an Oklahoma corporation, d/b/a Integris Baptist Regional Health Center
Case Number: CJ-2004-551
Judge: Robert G. Haney
Court: District Court, Ottawa County, Oklahoma
Jon Ed Brown of LeForce & McCombs, P.C., Idabel, Oklahoma
John R. Paul of The Paul Law Firm, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Description: On May 2, 2000, Hazel Lowe, age 77, was admitted into the defendant's hospital in Miami, OK following a fall at home. Within 48 hours of her admission for evaluation and observation, Ms. Lowe fell again in the hospital and suffered a hip fracture. Hip replacement surgery was performed which required hospitalization for approximately two months. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant negligently failed to properly monitor Ms. Lowe and allowed her to fall again from her hospital bed. The hospital's fall precaution guidelines were introduced which indicated Ms. Lowe satisfied eight out of ten available high risk fall criteria. The hospital contended that Ms. Lowe was monitored adequately and that no extraordinary fall precautions were warranted despite the fall prevention guidelines. As for damages, the plaintiff alleged that the hip fracture and resulting convalescence exacerbated Ms. Lowe's mild dementia to such a degree that she remained entirely dependent on others for her daily needs for the rest of her life. It was also alleged that Ms. Lowe's quality of life was permanently destroyed due to a cascade of pain, disability and resulting depression, all of which were caused by the fall. Ms. Lowe died of unrelated causes on July 29, 2001.
Outcome: Unanimous jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff. Compensatory damages in the amount of $1,250,000. There was no punitive damages instruction requested or given.
Plaintiff's Experts: Steven Kanner, MD, North Palm Beach, Florida, Internal Medicine
Defendant's Experts: Carroll Eugene Holsted, MD, Bella Vista, Arkansas, Family Practice
Comments: Reported by Jon Ed Brown of LeForce & McCombs, P.C., Idabel, Oklahoma