A jury in Northern California has found a physician liable for elder abuse because he failed to administer enough pain medication for a terminally ill patient. Thejury awarded one-and-a-half million dollars to the patient's family.
William Bergman's children say they knew the odds were against them in court, but a jury found the doctor who treated theirfather in his dying days was reckless and liable for elderly abuse because he didn't prescribe enough pain medication.
Robert Bergman, the patient's son says, "We knew that if we told our story, wetold the truth, and um put it in front of people, that uh hopefully they would see where we were coming from and that this did not need to happen."
85-year-old William Bergman, a terminal cancerpatient, died in February 1998 after spending six days at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, California. Bergman's children say he suffered needlessly because Dr. Wing Chin didn't administer enoughpainkillers.
Beverly Bergman, the patient's daughter, says, "When you're reckless [and] you're treating a person with chronic pain or intractable pain, there are consequences. think that's what thejury said today."
During the month-long trial, Dr Chin testified that he followed established pain management protocols.
Bob Slattery, Dr. Chin's defense lawyer says, "Quite frankly I think thatthe doctor complied with the standard of care, [and] that the evidence that we produced showed that."
Family members acknowledged on the stand [that] they didn't directly ask the doctor for moremedication.
Alice Edlinger, Bergman's daughter, says, "We trusted that they knew what they were doing to relieve my father's pain."
Advocates for terminally ill patients say undermedication forpain is a widespread problem.
Jim Geagan a family attorney says, "I think the effect of this is gonna be a tremendous increase in consciousness in California and, I hope, throughout the country...