Man Awarded Damages From Reno Hospital

March 12, 2009

A Sparks, Nev., man has been awarded $478,000 from a Reno hospital for broken ribs he says he suffered when a glass partition fell on his chest while being treated following a dirt bike accident.

Hector Gamboa claimed he broke his collarbone when he crashed his bike in April 2006.

He was being treated at Renown Regional Medical Center when a lead-plated glass divider that protects others from exposure to X-ray radiation broke and fell on his chest.

During a civil trial in Washoe District Court, hospital officials said Gamboa broke his ribs in the motor bike accident, but the injuries didn’t show up on initial X-rays.

An expert witness for Gamboa countered the broken ribs could not have been missed.

Gamboa’s lawyer, Mike Suglia, said a jury ordered Renown to pay Gamboa $300,000 for past pain and suffering, $100,000 for future pain and $78,000 in lost wages and medical expenses.

Renown spokesman Don Butterfield said the hospital strives to provide quality health care and regrets that “an incident occurred that resulted in an unpleasant experience for this patient.”

But the hospital stands by its position, he said.

“The patient arrived at the ER with significant injuries following an off-road motorcycle accident,” he said in a written statement. “Renown maintained at trial and still believes that the incident in the ER did not cause any further injury to the patient.”

He said hospital officials are evaluating the verdict and declined to comment further since the court has not entered a final judgment in the case.

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