Heyl Royster



Firm Prevails for County Jail in Wrongful Death Case


Mike Kokal and John Hoelzer recently represented a physician, a physician’s assistant, and a nurse, all of whom provided medical services at a county jail, in a one-week wrongful death “deliberate indifference” and medical malpractice jury trial. The case was brought on behalf of an inmate who ultimately died from metastatic prostate cancer. The inmate’s cancer was unknown at the time of the care and treatment at issue. The allegations were that the medical providers failed to respond appropriately to the inmate’s symptoms in that they failed to order imaging tests, and that earlier cancer detection and surgery would have allowed the inmate to have had better quality of life in that he would not have become paralyzed and incontinent during the remaining years of his life. Plaintiff asked the jury for $1 million in compensatory damages, as well as for additional punitive damages. Kokal and Hoelzer (second-chair) presented evidence that the medical providers made reasonable judgment calls based on the information and resources that were available to them. In arriving at a defense verdict, the jury ultimately agreed that the medical providers were not deliberately indifferent or professionally negligent.