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12/13/2012 6:00:00 AM
Medical lawsuit settled

Erin Taylor
Miner Staff Reporter

The family of a 25-year-old Kingman man who died after he was allegedly misdiagnosed at Kingman Regional Medical Center's Emergency Room has settled with the hospital.

Andy Anderson Jr. died of pneumonia on Feb. 16, 2007, two days after he was seen in KRMC's emergency room for a persistent cough. A physician's assistant diagnosed Anderson's condition as acute bronchitis.

According to court files, Anderson was not given a chest x-ray and was never seen by the on-call physician that night. The family alleged that a chest x-ray would have shown the pneumonia.

The settlement, which was reached just before the start of trial, was set at $97,500. The Phoenix law firm of Ely, Bettini, Ulman and Rosenblatt, which represented Anderson's mother in the suit, said during court that they dropped their standard fee of 40 percent to 14.8 percent, amounting to $13,820.

The firm also collected about $33,000 from the settlement for expenses incurred during the four years the lawsuit was litigated.

That leaves close to $50,000.

At the time of his death, Anderson, an electrician, had two children, ages 5 and 3.

Anderson's mother was appointed conservator of her son's estate and had the settlement placed in a savings account for her grandchildren that cannot be accessed until the children are 18.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: No name provided

Customer satisfaction surveys are very weak justification for the death of a patient.

I am appaud that this young widow will need to find a way to support her young family now that the breadwinner is gone because of poor medical treatment. I am angry that the good attorney felt the need to lower his fee. In reality he should be sued. This man was an electrician with a good 30 yrs of earnings. Factoring in this he would have earned well over $1.3 mil. And the good attorney was so effective the young widow will be compensated enough for at most 2 years.

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

@ Athens

Revisionist history? I think not. The incidents noted in this prestigious Smithsonian article come straight from the journals, diaries, ledgers and account books of Thomas Jefferson in his own hand.

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

This is a travesty. A young man's life is worth far more than a measly $50,000. At least ten times more. This family was royally taken down the path. This is also what happens when a communities health services are monopolized by one hospital (KRMC). For a medical assistant to misdiagnose a cough from which the patient then died of pneumonia is patent malpractice on the part of the PA and the hospital. If I were to advise this family, I'd recommend they contact a good lawyer to sue their original lawyer for malpractice. Unfortunately, the settlement probably contained an agreement that the hospital could not be sued again under this particular claim. KRMC got away scot-free and clean this time.

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: The comments are a joke

"It is about time krmc be responsible for ignorance, if the public only knew of how they always misdiagnose, or mistreat the community patients, they would no longer be in business, unfortunately, krmc is all kingman has to resort to so they will continue to get away with it, it's pretty much the old timers who are the perpetrators!"

Please, enlighten us with your medical wisdom. You may be surprised to hear that KRMC gets far far far better patient satisfaction results than any surrounding hospital. Which is why patients come to KRMC far all the surrounding areas for any major medical service.

Secondly, at whoever mentioned insurance, ER treatment is in no way based upon insurance, as ER personnel do not even know the insurance of the patient during treatment. A patient cannot be registered until treatment is being received, thus nobody knows their insurance until treatment is already under way.

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: disgusted very much

It is about time krmc be responsible for ignorance, if the public only knew of how they always misdiagnose, or mistreat the community patients, they would no longer be in business, unfortunately, krmc is all kingman has to resort to so they will continue to get away with it, it's pretty much the old timers who are the perpetrators!

Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Article comment by: Past Experience

They probably did not order an x-ray due to the patients insurance. Not to discount the thought that they used a PA verses a physician. Typical scenario of KRMC's revenue maintenance and administrative direction. Don't be fooled by compassion and commitment. Your healthcare is directed by the revenue you provide as a patient.

Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Article comment by: Should have been more

They should have paid more. Maybe he died at the hospital when he went back, so to blame him is ignorant.

If he were to leave his wife and was ordered to pay child support in the amount of $300.00 a month till the 3 year old was 18, that would amount to $54,000.00 just for one child. We all know that it takes more then $300.00 a month to raise a child, so you do the math. They should have had to pay the family what would have been at least $500.00 a month until each child reached the age of 18. People do make mistakes even Doctors, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be held accountable. If he were killed by a drunk driver, would that make it less acceptable?

Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Article comment by: biker randy

I wonder if he was given a prescription and had it filled.

For a change we see how much $ a victim get's with a lawsuit that doesn't go to court.. In this case his family got a tad over 50%($50,000). If the law firm had charged their normal fees(40%), the victim's mother would have gotten $25,500 out of $97,500. This shows how much it costs to have a lawyer represent you.

Years ago I had a lawsuit against a ladder Co. when I fell off it and cracked my skull. Luckily I had excellant medical coverage so all we were suing for was the ladder safety. Like this case it never went to court. I won $40,000 but my lawyer got it all but $500 for me, the victim.

This is why when there's a lawsuit you normally never hear who got what of the monies. The law firm get's most the settlement money.

Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

Normally a problem with the lungs can be determined by just listening. Any issues found can then be confirmed with an x-ray.

My regular provider is a PA and he is great! Better than the 2 MD/DOs that I have seen at my clinic. He listens and asks questions.

I feel for the family and their loss.....but I doubt there was any malpractice here. Every instruction says...if the condition worsens, return to the clinic.

Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Article comment by: unfortunate things occasionally happen

@ concerned citizen
Really, you ALWAYS get a chest x-ray when a 25 year old walks into the office or ER-fast trax with a cough and have the MD see him ASAP!? Here's the simple fact, a decade ago this gentlemen probably would have scheduled an office appointment instead of using an ER as his primary physician, but due to the economy and current insurance that's what everyone is doing. At that office visit the doc would have seen him, most likely come to the same conclusion as the PA did, and sent him on his way. This was a fluke, and one that I am sure the PA did everything in their power to correctly diagnose. So to answer your rant, no, not every 25 year old that walks into an ER for a cough gets an x-ray and has an MD see them STAT, OK?

Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Article comment by: concerned citizen

Whenever you have a patient that has a cough, which originates from the chest, you always take x-rays and have a regular MD look at him asap! Always!
I'm just a patient, and even I know that you do that!

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