After eight weeks in trial, a Broward jury absolved several doctors, nurses, and Memorial Hospital West of any wrongdoing in treating Lisa Strong, who lost her forearms and lower legs in a battle to overcome complications from kidney stones. Strong, a 44-year-old mother of two, sought $75 million in damages.
Lisa Strong showed up at the Pembroke Pines hospital's E.R. shortly after midnight on Sept. 20, 2003 with complaints of severe pain. Mark Rosen, who represented one of the doctors in the suit, says that Strong's urine test showed no blood or any other sign of kidney stones. That's because she had what is known as a total obstruction. The "false positive" result of that test would delay diagnosis for many hours to come. Shortly thereafter, Strong went into septic shock. Emergency room doctors were then struggling just to keep her alive. The doctors administered dopamine to keep her heart pumping. But an unfortunate side effect of this "rescue drug" is that it concentrates blood in the chest, and away from the extremities. Patients who receive dopamine over an extended period of time may require amputation.
"I'm glad that my client was vindicated," Rosen says, "but it is a very sad human story. The reality is that they probably saved her life."
The doctor that Rosen represented has no malpractice insurance and will now be billed for more than 1,000 hours in legal fees. Rosen's firm reckons that the Strong trial may be one of the largest medical malpractice trials in the history of Broward County.
To see Lisa Strong's testimony in the case, check out ABC affiliate WMTW.