Jurors Awarded $30 Million in Emergency Care Death
By Stephanie Patrick, November 22, 2001
DOWNTOWN DALLAS – Jurors in Dallas’ 193rd District Court last week
awarded more than $30 million to the family of a Carrollton man who
died after waiting 11 hours for care at Medical Center of Las Colinas.
jury returned a $9.2 million actual-damages verdict Nov. 8, having
found the hospital grossly negligent in the death of Robert Hogue, Jr.
After hearing evidence in the punitive damages phase of the trial,
jurors awarded an additional $21 million on Nov. 9.
Center of Las Colinas is owned and operated by Nashville’s HCA Inc.,
which operates several hospitals in the North Texas area.
Carter, hospital spokeswoman, said Las Colinas Medical Center and HCA
are disappointed by the verdict and are considering several options,
including an appeal.
“Our deepest sympathies go to the Hogue family for their loss,” Carter said.
Werbner, counsel to the Hogue family, said, “It’s shocking that a
company with HCA’s resources could be so ill-equipped and ill-prepared.
The family also is represented by Dallas’ Melvin Wolovits, a partner in medical malpractice law firm Wolovits & Gross.
52, died March 9, 1998. He had gone to the emergency room complaining
of breathing problems at 9 a.m. The pulmonologist who was paged to
treat him didn’t see him until 1:30 p.m., according to the Hogue
family. The physician requested an emergency echocardiogram at 3:30
p.m., but the procedure wasn’t performed until 6 p.m.
surgery Hogue required couldn’t be performed at Las Colinas, he was
ordered to be transferred to a hospital in nearby Irving.
Las Colinas did not have an agreement with an ambulance service to
provide an emergency transfer, so his move was delayed. By the time
Hogue arrived in surgery, his heart had stopped and attempts to
resuscitate him failed. He was pronounced dead at 9:46 p.m.
11-hour delay to transfer Mr. Hogue resulted from the conscious failure
of the administration of Medical Center of Las Colinas to arrange for
the availability of specialty physicians and technicians needed to
diagnose a patient with a heart problem such as Mr. Hogue’s,” Wolovits
Werbner added, “The hospital lost even more time waiting
for an ambulance to arrive. It was just one delay after another, and
those delays cost Mr. Hogue his life.