A Baltimore County jury awarded $1.75 million this week in a wrongful death case to the family of an Ocean City woman who died five years ago after surgery at St. Joseph Medical Center.
After a six-day trial, the jury awarded the money to the family of Erma Joyce Pasquinelli, 59, a former X-ray technician at St. Joseph, who died April 13, 1999.
John Penhallegon, an attorney for St. Joseph, said the hospital is considering an appeal.
According to court documents, Pasquinelli had bladder suspension surgery for incontinence on April 7, 1999. The operating physician had treated her for more than 10 years and was aware that she also suffered from phlebitis, or blood clots in the legs, court records show.
As she recovered in the hospital, sequential compression stockings were placed on Pasquinelli to reduce the risk of blood clots, but, according to court documents, they were removed to allow her to go to the bathroom and never reapplied.
"Her surgeon specifically ordered two things to prevent blood clots, walking in the hospital after surgery and the sequential compression stockings," said Andrew Slutkin, who represented the Pasquinelli family.
"The nurses didn't make her walk as the doctor ordered, and they didn't put those stockings on her legs," Slutkin said.
An autopsy determined that Pasquinelli died of a "pulmonary thrombo-embolism due to deep vein thrombosis."