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Hospital to Appeal Award of Compensation for an Adverse Reaction to Anti-Coagulant Medication

A $44 million award of compensation for an adverse reaction to anti-coagulant medication will be appealed by the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

In September 2011, fifty-seven year old Andrea Tate was admitted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to have a meningioma removed from inside her head. Despite this being considered a routine procedure, Andrea underwent a craniotomy and a resection due to the size and location of the mass.

Following her operation, Andrea was kept in the neurological intensive care unit, where she was administered heparin – an anti-coagulant – to prevent post-surgical swelling around her brain. APPT tests were conducted to measure the rate at which Andrea´s blood clotted and, once the rate had risen from 19 seconds to 32 seconds, the tests were stopped.

However, Andrea suffered an adverse reaction to the heparin and suffered a brain hemorrhage three days later. When the APPT test was conducted again, the rate at which Andreas blood was clotting had risen to 61 seconds – a rate considered significantly higher than the typical reference range and likely to cause excessive bleeding of the brain.

As a result of the hemorrhage, Andrea is now severely brain damaged and essentially bedridden. She is unable to walk, feed herself or use the toilet without assistance, and is cared for full-time by her husband, Dwight.

On his wife´s behalf, Dwight claimed compensation for an adverse reaction to anti-coagulant medication, alleging that – had the APPT tests been continued – doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania would have realized that Andrea was not responding as she should have been to the heparin.

The hospital denied the allegations and argued that the brain hemorrhage was a complication of the meningioma procedure. However, at the Court of Common Pleas, the jury found in Andrea´s favor and awarded her $44 million compensation for an adverse reaction to anti-coagulant medication – an award that the hospital has said it will appeal after having offered $15 million in pre-trial negotiations.