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Spring Cleaning Results in a 4.5 Million Dollar Death

1334532_48594781As the shades go up and windows open to begin the annual task of spring cleaning, many individuals face only the trouble of allergies and dust mites as a hindrance to this accomplishment.  This was not the case for Geraldine Moran.  As she began her annual spring cleaning routine in 2005, she used a six foot tall ladder to accomplish her mission.  As she was cleaning, Ms. Moran fell and broke several ribs.  She was immediately taken to, what was previously known as, Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Doctors evaluated Ms. Moran and made the decision to transport her to Massachusetts General Hospital as that facility would seemingly have the appropriate staff, equipment, and facilities to help treat Ms. Moran.

Geraldine Moran subsequently presented to Massachusetts General Hospital for her injuries.  While at the hospital, the doctors evaluated Ms. Moran and determined that she cracked her ribs in an unusual manner.  One rib in particular was noted as being cracked in such a way that it’s fine tip was close to Ms. Moran’s aorta.  The aorta is the largest artery in the body which stems from the left ventricle of the heart.  This is vital to the human body as it distributes oxygenated blood to all parts of the body.  Hospital staff did not treat Ms. Moran immediately.  Instead, she was kept overnight for evaluation and was given an epidural for pain. It was also noted that the time of her stay at MGH, she had a persistent cough.  At some point at night or in the early morning hours, the cracked rib with a razor point edge punctured the balloon like aorta during a coughing fit.  Ms. Moran went into cardiac arrest in the early morning hours.  She was pronounced dead at 9:49 am.  An autopsy revealed a 1 centimeter hole in her aorta by the jagged edge of her broken rib.  She was 62 at the time of her death and left three children behind.

A suit was filed in Suffolk Superior Court alleging a cause of action predicated in Wrongful Death against Massachusetts General Hospital and three medical doctors that were responsible for the care and treatment of Ms. Moran.  The Estate of Geraldine Moran alleged that the doctors who evaluated Ms. Moran failed to order chest imaging or to assemble the appropriate team to perform a reduction of the displaced rib. The case was filed on March 19, 2008 and trial commenced six years later on March 25, 2014.  After two weeks of evidence, the parties settled the matter for a reported 4.5 million dollar settlement.  The hospital maintains that it, as well as the medical doctors who rendered care, acted appropriately in light of the circumstances.

For more information on this, please see Erin Copponi as the Administratrix of the Estate of Geraldine Moran v. Alasdair Conn, MD, et. al., Suffolk Court Civil Action 2008-01270.  If you believe you have a medical malpractice case, our office can help you. To schedule a free consultation with lawyer Daniel Cappetta, call our office today at (508) 969-9505 or fill out or contact form available on the right side of this page.