Supreme Court upholds $10 million malpractice judgment |

Supreme Court upholds $10 million malpractice judgment

Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld a $10 million medical malpractice judgment against a Fallon doctor.

James Hockenberry was one of several doctors who initially failed to diagnose a bowel obstruction suffered by Rosetta Mullins-Sarver in Fallon. By the time they discovered what was causing her problem, a surgeon was only able to save a small portion of the intestine.

As a result, the woman, who was 18 at the time, will have to have daily intravenous feedings to survive.

Hockenberry’s lawyers argued the evidence at trial was insufficient to prove he failed to meet accepted standards of medical care. And they argued even if he had diagnosed the problem — which didn’t show several of the normal symptoms for an obstruction — the damage to the woman’s intestines was already done by that time.

He also argued there were several problems in how the case was conducted by Senior Judge Mario Recanzone.

The high court rejected all those arguments, concluding the jury verdict was supported by substantial evidence and upholding the judgment of $10 million.