MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a three-week trial that took place in Punta Gorda, Fla., Plaintiff Iala Suarez, a Florida resident, was awarded $23 Million in compensatory damages (70% against physician Dr. Michael Coffey and 30% against Peace River Regional Medical Center, now Bayfront Health Port Charlotte) in a verdict by a Charlotte County Circuit Court Jury. Ms. Suarez was represented by Ratzan Law Group, P.A. and Boldt Law Firm, P.A.
According to court documents, in 2010 Plaintiff Iala Suarez, pregnant at the time, presented to OBGYN Michael Coffey, M.D. for routine care and treatment. At twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, Ms. Suarez was noted to have high blood pressure and protein in her urine. This is known as early-onset preeclampsia, an extremely high risk situation. As such, Ms. Suarez should have been admitted to a high level care hospital for the remainder of her pregnancy.
One day after the visit with Dr. Coffey, Ms. Suarez was referred to Peace River Regional Medical Center, a Level I community hospital which does not deliver babies less than 33 weeks of gestation, for blood pressure evaluation and a twenty-four hour urine test, the hallmark test to diagnose a mother with preeclampsia. Peace River Regional Medical Center’s nursing staff conducted the test and discharged Ms. Suarez before the test results came back. Thirty minutes following discharge, the results came back positive for early term, severe preeclampsia.
Ms. Suarez was never transferred to a high level care hospital for monitoring and treatment and was never administered antenatal corticosteroids (ACS), which are required for women at risk of preterm birth from 24-34 weeks of gestation. Ultimately, Ms. Suarez’s daughter, K.D.P., was born at 26 weeks gestation with severe brain damage resulting in severe cerebral palsy, requiring a lifetime of care including full-time attendant skilled nursing care.
The jury found defendant Michael Coffey and Peace River Regional Medical Center negligent for violating several patient safety rules. Through dedicated work, attorneys Stuart N. Ratzan, Stuart J. Weissman and Kimberly L. Boldt prevailed in this case.
Ratzan Law Group, PA is a boutique firm that focuses its practice on medical malpractice, product liability and commercial trials. For additional information, call (305) 374-6366 or log on to www.ratzanlawgroup.com. Connect via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.