In a recent decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling from the Marion Circuit Court, holding that an Indiana father who watched his son die after he was prematurely sent home from the hospital without his injuries being properly treated could recover damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress independently from damages awarded under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute. Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund vs. Gary Patrick, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Christopher Patrick, Deceased, No. 49A02-0807-CV-614 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009).
A tragic set of circumstances surrounds this case. Back in 2002, a thirty-one year old man was involved in a motor vehicle accident and was transported to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Evansville, Indiana, where he was treated for a broken wrist, broken nose, and abdominal trauma. He was discharged the following day after the accident.
At the time the man lived with his father. The evening of the day the son was released from the hospital, he began vomiting blood. His father called 911, but by the time EMTs arrived, the son had died from an untreated ruptured colon caused by seatbelt trauma during the accident.