$425,000 Verdict for Delay in Death Notification
- Date: Spring 2001
- Attorney: Michael Zerres
- Settlement: $425,000
- Practice Areas: Medical Malpractice, Hospital Negligence
On April 30th, an Essex County jury awarded $425,000 in a case where a family experienced a month-long delay in the notification that their relative had died. On December 8, 1997, the 34 year-old relative had been found in the bathroom of a McDonald’s restaurant suffering from a drug overdose and was taken to the nearby St. Mary’s Hospital. Documents found on the body of the deceased indicated his name and that he had been discharged from another hospital the day before. A nurse from St. Mary’s called the other hospital and were able to obtain an address, telephone number and date of birth. Despite having that information, the nurse from St. Mary’s failed to call the number or attempt to contact the family to notify them that the relative’s body was shipped to the morgue where it was autopsied. Twenty-nine days later, the family had filed a missing person’s report with the police and was searching for their relative. They finally were alerted to his death when they received a bill from St. Mary’s Hospital in the mail. The verdict was awarded for the family’s emotional distress from not having been notified of the relative’s death. Blume Donnelly partner, Michael Zerres, represented the family.