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Sheller, P.C.
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Medical Malpractice: Jury Finds Doctor, Hospital Liable in Heparin Brain Hemorrhage Case

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The University of Pennsylvania was ordered to pay $44.1 million in Tate v. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The award is the highest medical malpractice verdict in the state to-date, this year.

A Philadelphia jury deliberated for seven hours following a 13 day trial, before finding the hospital failed to recognize a woman’s adverse reaction to Heparin, an anti-coagulant, before she suffered a brain hemorrhage. The jury found the attending doctor 35 percent liable and the hospital 65 percent liable.

According to court documents, the hospital staff allegedly failed to recognize changes in the plaintiff, Andrea Tate’s, blood after she was put on heparin. Changes which should have been a warning that she was at a high risk for brain hemorrhage.

Tate’s pretrial memo said, after she underwent a procedure to remove a benign tumor on her brain, testing was done to determine whether her blood was becoming too thin. For six days the test results showed coagulation was moving from the low end to the high end of the spectrum. But, instead of stopping the heparin, the hospital allegedly stopped the testing. Three days later Tate was found comatose with a massive brain bleed.

A pretrial memo from the defendants contends the dosage of heparin and blood monitoring was proper. Moreover the memo argued, the hemorrhage was the result of complications from her initial brain surgery.

Tate, 57 at the time and a project manager at a financial service company, initially went to the hospital in September 2011 to remove a mass in her head known as a meningioma.