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Jury Awards Valley Medical Center Patient $1.8 Million for Nursing Negligence
Date:7/23/2009

Woman spent remaining life in wheelchair, nursing facilities after nurse failed to alert physician to condition; Verdict record for its type

KENT, Wash., July 23 /PRNewswire/ -- A King County Superior Court jury awarded the estate of a Renton woman more than $1.8 million yesterday for a medical center's failure to alert her physician of a critical complication that developed after routine back surgery.

The jury concluded the actions of Renton, Washington's Valley Medical Center and its staff caused Ellen Sandbo partial paralysis and a host of debilitating conditions, which forced her move into a nursing facility, where she remained until just before her death on April 29, 2009.

Ellen Sandbo went to Valley Medical Center on January 31, 2006 for a routine procedure to relieve lower-back pain. Sandbo showed immediate improvement after the late-morning operation, standing and walking across her hospital room that evening.

"She told her family and her doctor that her legs felt better than they had felt in years," said Robert Gellatly, a partner with The Luvera Law Firm, who represented Sandbo and her family. "She and her doctor were very pleased with the results of the surgery."

According to court testimony, though, Sandbo - a former nurse for more than 50 years - began experiencing severe pain in her legs later that evening, and repeatedly asked the nurse to call her doctor.

Fran Klepach, Sandbo's sister, testified in court she remembered her then-87-year-old sibling's alarm at the rapid onset of severe pain, telling the hospital staff "I am a nurse - call my doctor."

According to Gellatly, Sandbo repeatedly begged the nurse to call her doctor, but the nurse ignored her pleas, instead giving her pain medication and suggesting that it was simply a leg spasm.

Sandbo then
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SOURCE The Luvera Law Firm
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