Yesterday evening a Provo jury returned a unanimous verdict for the defense in a medical malpractice wrongful death case tried in Judge James Taylor’s courtroom. The jury deliberated for three and a half hours and determined that there was no breach of the standard of care by either of the two defendant doctors.
Steadman Heirs v. McManus, Fourth District Court for Utah County, Provo Department, #160400870.
This was a wrongful death action brought by attorneys of the heirs of Audra Steadman, a 41-year old Lehi woman who died in 2013 from a respiratory-cardiac arrest during her admission to American Fork Hospital. (See my blog post for February 4th.) The essential allegations were that the defendants, two family medicine doctors employed by Premier Family Medical, failed to diagnose and treat severe anemia and consequent lung injuries from a transfusion. This, it is claimed, led to a cardiopulmonary arrest and death.
The trial lasted eight days.
One unfortunate development for the plaintiffs was the sudden illness and hospitalization of their chief expert witness. His discovery deposition was read at trial instead— always a poor replacement for live testimony.
There was a late dispute over the plaintiff’s rebuttal witnesses– here are the bench briefs from defendants and from plaintiffs. The court permitted the witnesses to testify, but with some restrictions. (This is a common issue in medical malpractice trials in Utah.)