Two Women Who Watched Relative Choke to Death Win Case Against Berkeley Hospital

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A state appeals court has upheld $375,000 in damages against a Berkeley hospital in a suit by two women who said they watched a relative choking to death after surgery.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the ruling this week says the sister and daughter of the patient had presented evidence that they knew she was suffering from a lack of proper care at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.

Madeline Knox died nine days after thyroid surgery in September 2008. Her two relatives say hospital staff seemed to lack any sense of urgency as Knox encountered a series of breathing problems following the procedure. They say they watched her choke to death while they waited for a doctor to arrive.

In addition to wrongful death, jurors also found for negligent infliction of medical distress, a verdict the hospital appealed.

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