March 2013 

Las Vegas: Defense Victory for HPS 

Partners Mike Prangle and Ken Webster successfully defended a Las Vegas hospital and its nursing staff against claims that a plaintiff suffered a severe neurologic injury and quadraparesis as a result of sodium and potassium overcorrection in a patient with hyponatremia. Plaintiff alleged that following his admission, physicians corrected his serum sodium level at a rate more than double the nationally accepted standard over a twenty-four hour period, allegedly resulting in central pontine myelinolysis. Plaintiff further alleged that during this time period, the nursing staff failed to notify the physicians of critical sodium values during the night shift and failed to perform a critical morning lab draw.  The defense argued that Plaintiff’s sodium was corrected at an appropriate rate given his medically complex presentation at the Emergency Room. The defense also contested the cause of Plaintiff’s central pontine myelinolysis was not the sodium correction, but rather Plaintiff’s past history of chronic alcohol abuse, as well as other current co-associated factors. Plaintiff asked the jury for a combined total of $26.8 million in damages. After just over three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict for the defense.