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Jury Awards Family $1.44 Million for Death of Husband and Father Who Died of Sepsis

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Baltimore, Maryland—the family of a man who died of sepsis while a patient at St. Joseph Medical Center will receive $1.44 million after a jury ruled that the doctor was negligent in providing the man proper care.

Thomas Murphy’s family named Dr. Richard Tempel, as well as two other doctors and St. Joseph Medical Center in their lawsuit. According to the family’s attorney, Dr. Tempel ordered and completed several tests on Thomas Murphy, including an X-ray and a CT scan, both of which she argued revealed that the 59-year-old man was dying of sepsis. Nevertheless, Tempel’s attorney argued that the doctor thought that Thomas was suffering from pneumonia, and did consider sepsis at the time, but was unaware of the source. Consequently, he treated Thomas with a broad-spectrum antibiotic and admitted to the hospital. Sadly, Thomas died on June 11, 2007 on the same day that he was admitted to the hospital. The other two doctors and the hospital settled out of court with the family.

The medical malpractice lawsuit comes on the heels of another problem at the same hospital: recently, the hospital notified 169 patients that coronary stent implants they received at St. Joseph might have been unnecessary. Several lawsuits have already been filed and two federal investigations are underway.