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Originally Posted At: http://www.morelaw.com/verdicts/case.asp?n=TC007065&s=CA&d=8194

Date: 3/25/99

Case Style: Dawnelle Barris v. County of Los Angeles

Case Number: TC007065

Judge: Victoria Chavez

Court: Superior Court, Los Angeles County, California

Plaintiff's Attorney: Kenneth M. Sigelman of Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates, San Diego, California and Penelope A. Phillips, Los Angeles, California

Defendant's Attorney: Mark Weinstein and William G. Leib and Timothy T. Coates and Alison M. Turner of Greines, Martin, Stein, & Richland, Beverly Hills, California

Description: Wrongful death - Emergency Medical Treatment and Active labor Act (EMTALA) - Plaintiff brought her 18-month old daughter to the emergency room at Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center. Their medical insurance was with the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and although this Medical Center was a non-Kaiser facility, it was the nearest emergency room. The doctor examined the daughter and believed her to have a bacterial infection which could be treated with antibiotics. The doctor called a physician at Kaiser to obtain permission to do a blood test that would confirm sepsis and treatment could be started immediately. The Kaiser physician instructed the Medical Center physician not to perform the tests and to wait for instructions to transfer the daughter to a Kaiser facility. The daughter was subsequently transferred to a Kaiser facility. Within 15 minutes of her arrival, she suffered cardiac arrest and died. A blood culture performed as part of an autopsy was positive for streptococcus bacteria.

Outcome: The jury assessed economic damages of $3,000 and noneconomic damages of $11,350,000. The Superior Court granted county's motion to reduce noneconomic damages to $250,000, pursuant to Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) damages cap.

Plaintiff's Experts: Unknown

Defendant's Experts: Unknown

Comments: Affirmed by the Supreme Court of California. See: 972 P.2d 966 (Cal. 1999). Reported by bsg.


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