Jury in medical malpractice lawsuit finds Texas doctor’s sloppy handwriting contributed to woman’s fatal overdose

by Eric Pearson

Dalia Hernandez was a 72 year-old dialysis patient when she was admitted to San Antonio’s Northeast Baptist Hospital in November 2011 for amputation of a toe on her left foot. Dr. Flavio Alvarez, a kidney specialist in San Antonio, initially prescribed 10 millimoles of potassium for Ms. Hernandez.

However, according to the testimony at trial, he changed his mind about the dosage and intended to increase it to 20 millamoles. Instead of scratching out the original amount on the form or starting over on a new form, he attempted to write a “2” over the “1.” Tragically, the nurses and pharmacists misinterpreted the prescription as an order by Dr. Alvarz for 120 millimoles — a dosage described at trial as obviously fatal.

A jury has now found that the San Antonio physician’s illegible handwriting was partially responsible for Ms. Hernandez’s fatal overdose. The jury awarded $380,000 in damages to the woman’s family. The jury found the doctor to be 10% responsible and the hospital to be 90% responsible. The hospital has already reached an undisclosed settlement with the woman’s family.

Think you may have a medical malpractice claim?

The attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have the experience and expertise to assist injured patients with their medical malpractice claims. Our attorneys have successfully represented numerous victims of medical malpractice. Among our attorneys’ recent verdicts, settlements and results are the following:

  • Jim Orr negotiated a $6.75 million settlement for the family of an 8 year-old child who suffered permanent brain damage due to medical errors occurring at a VA hospital.
  • Michael Heygood achieved a $2.2 million jury verdict in a medical malpractice lawsuit arising from the premature discharge of a newborn infant from the hospital with low glucose levels.
  • Eric Pearson argued the appeal in Columbia Medical Center of Las Colinas, Inc. v. Hogue, 271 S.W.3d 238 (Tex. 2009), in which the Texas Supreme Court upheld a gross negligence finding against the defendant hospital in a medical malpractice case and affirmed the jury’s $9 million verdict on behalf of his clients.

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have the knowledge, experience and financial resources necessary to prosecute even the most complex medical negligence case. If you believe you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice, please contact us by calling us toll-free at 1-877-446-9001 for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.