Ohio News

Family Sues for Emergency Room Negligence

The children and parents of a young woman, who died suddenly of acute pancreatitis after being sent home twice from the emergency room, have been awarded $2.2 million in damages for the wrongful death of Johnna L. Hardin.  

Hardin was allegedly released for the second time from the Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro, Ohio after complaining of vomiting, chest pain and abdomen sensitivity.  Ten hours after her release, the patient and her fiancé were preparing to go to another hospital for an examination when Harden collapsed and was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival back at Highland District Hospital.  

Dr. Richard K. Smith, the physician named in the suit, claims that experts agree that acute pancreatitis could not have been diagnosed simply by the symptoms Harden complained of.  

Harden’s attorney, Richard L. Norton however commented that the case is not about Dr. Smith’s failure to recognize the symptoms of acute pancreatitis but a breach in the standard of emergency room care, which led to Harden’s death.  Dr. Smith who relied on some preliminary blood tests taken, failed to conduct diagnostic tests which could have detected signs for fatal diseases, such as acute pancreatitis.  

The jury found in favor of the Harden estate, awarding $2.2 million in compensatory damages, in addition to $10,766.79 for funeral expenses.  

Smith’s attorney, Michael Lyon commented that the defendants, Dr. Richard K. Smith and New Century Physicians Inc, are considering an appeal.  “We think the verdict is flawed,” the attorney added.  

Johnna Hardin is survived by her parents, ten-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son.  



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