Macomb County Jury Awards Nearly $10 Million for Surgical-Wound-Infection Death

A Macomb County jury found that the defendants, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital and Dr. Vijay Dixit, were negligent in their treatment of the decedent.

Macomb County Jury Awards Nearly $10 Million for Surgical-Wound-Infection Death

ByKandace Watkins, J.D.

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Published on February 20, 2024

Macomb County Jury Awards Nearly $10 Million for Surgical-Wound-Infection Death

The Background

Cathleen Allen, 41 years old, presented at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital to undergo outpatient abdominal surgery performed by Dr. Dixit. Following the surgery, Ms. Allen returned for a follow-up appointment. A few days after the follow-up appointment, she complained of being ill and went to the emergency department at the hospital. While in the emergency department, she discovered she was septic from an infection.

The next day, Dr. Dixit visited Ms. Allen in the hospital, but failed to clean the wound. Six days after Ms. Allen presented at the emergency department, she died.

The Allegations

In November 2019, Ms. Allen’s estate filed suit against the hospital and Dr. Dixit and alleged that the hospital was administratively negligent and Dr. Dixit was professionally negligent. More specifically, the plaintiff argued that there was evidence that the source of Ms. Allen’s infection was the surgical wound, yet Dr. Dixit ignored such evidence during his treatment. Additionally, the plaintiff argued that neither hospital nor Dr. Dixit followed the hospital’s patient safety policy, which resulted in Ms. Allen’s illness from the uncontrolled infection in the wound.

The Trial

The two-week trial was set before Judge James Biernat, Jr., in Macomb Circuit Court in Mount Clemens, Michigan. At trial, the plaintiff’s experts testified that hospital officials failed to implement and enforce proper safety policies. The hospital disagreed and argued that Dr. Dixit was not a hospital employee.

After five hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The jury awarded nearly $10 million to the estate of Ms. Allen. The jury concluded that the hospital’s and Dr. Dixit’s negligence resulted in Ms. Allen’s death.

The hospital disagrees with the verdict and plans to appeal.

About the author

Kandace Watkins, J.D.

Kandace Watkins, J.D.

Kandace Watkins, J.D., is distinguished in the field of financial regulatory compliance, currently holding the position of Compliance Counsel II at SECU. She has previously served as the Assistant General Counsel at Self-Help Credit Union and was an Associate Attorney at Young Moore and Henderson, P.A. Her legal acumen was further developed through her role as a Judicial Law Clerk at the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Kandace's legal education includes a J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law and specialized training in International Human Rights at the Paris Summer Institute, a program of Cornell University Law School.