$2.25 million verdict plus interest for death of hospitalized patient from dehydration

A Providence jury found in favor of the widow of a 66-year-old Rhode Island man, who died in a hospital after becoming progressively dehydrated and developing systemic organ failure. The man, who was disabled from rheumatoid arthritis, had been admitted to the hospital with knee pain. As the man’s overall condition steadily declined, the attending orthopedic doctor intended to transfer the patient’s care to a more appropriate medical specialist, but did not do so for several days. Instead, very little treatment and monitoring was provided. Within a week of admission, the man developed kidney failure and systemic infection, lapsed into a coma, and died three days later. He and his wife had been married for 42 years.

The award, which included $1,750,000 to the wife and $250,000 for the deceased husband’s pain and suffering, was the largest personal injury award in the state for that year. The case was settled after trial for $2,250,000, which included accrued interest on the verdict.