December 22, 2019

A Las Vegas, Nevada medical malpractice jury was in the middle of deliberations when the parties reached a settlement in the Nevada medical malpractice lawsuit that sought $63 million in compensatory damages for a woman who claimed that she suffered serious permanent brain damage because the hospital staff and doctors failed to timely begin CPR when her vital signs dropped precipitously while she was undergoing a routine medical procedure.

The plaintiff was undergoing a routine pacemaker replacement procedure at the defendant hospital when her vital signs began dropping. As her condition continued to deteriorate, she suffered respiratory arrest. The alarms programmed into the monitoring equipment used during the procedure failed to sound, because the alarms has been turned off, according to the plaintiff’s Las Vegas medical malpractice lawsuit.

The plaintiff claimed that her blood pressure dropped because she was administered too much Propofol for the procedure. The plaintiff alleged that the doctors involved with the procedure failed to respond appropriately and in a timely fashion to her serious and worsening condition, and that they failed to begin appropriate emergency resuscitation when her vital signs fell below the required threshold.

One of the attending doctors allegedly asked at one point during the procedure, “Has anyone checked for a pulse?” Once her pulse was checked and no pulse was found, CPR was begun and her heart was restarted. The plaintiff claimed that she was without oxygen to her brain for nine minutes, which resulted in a permanent brain injury and left her with the mental capacity of a five-year-old.

The defense argued that the defendants did not violate the hospital’s guidelines regarding when emergency resuscitation efforts are to begin and that the defendants responded appropriately to the plaintiff’s condition. The defense argued that the plaintiff had a pulse during the nine minutes in question and that her low blood pressure was to be expected due to the appropriate amount of Propofol used during the procedure. The defense further argued that it would have been inappropriate to begin CPR at the time the plaintiff argued was required by the standard of care, noting that the plaintiff was promptly given stimulants and fluids in response to her dropping blood pressure.

The defense told the jury that the plaintiff’s brain injury was due to her years-long pre-existing low blood flow to her brain due to heart disease and diabetes. The defense also argued that the plaintiff’s impairment was not as severe as alleged by the plaintiff.

The Nevada medical malpractice jury trial lasted fifteen days and took place in October 2019.


Elisa Sales v. Summerlin Hospital and Medical Center, Case number: A-17-758060-C, 8th District Court of Nevada, Clark County.

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