The trial concluded earlier this week with a unanimous decision, which involves the death of 80-year-old Richard Pellock of Cassville, Wisconsin who sought treatment at UnityPoint Health, Finley Hospital.
Attorneys for his family argue it was negligence by the medical group, Mississippi Valley Anesthesiology, P.C. that caused Richard Pellock’s death.
On Jan. 5, 2015, he had surgery to remove bladder cancer. Soon after, he developed complications, which required a follow-up at Finley. About a week later, on Jan. 11, he died after another surgery.
Nick Rowley, the attorney from the firm Trial Lawyers for Justice, said the wrongful death was caused by multiple errors by the certified registered nurse anesthetist, James Wieters.
“They didn’t do two things — number one, they didn’t empty his stomach,” he said. “Mr. Pellock died because he drowned on his own stomach contents, what went up from his stomach, ended up in his lungs.”
He added the other error was taking too long to seal Pellock’s airway after inserting the breathing tube.
Wieters, the anesthetist, has retired.
The insurance company for Mississippi Valley Anesthesiology P.C., will be responsible for paying the $10 million verdict. They said in a statement, “This is a very difficult situation for everyone involved. While we disagree with the jury’s findings we have great respect for the legal process. The well-being of our patients sits at the heart of everything we do each day.”
Attorneys representing the medical group said they plan to file motions to overturn the verdict and appeal if necessary.