Jury awards $40M for Detroit Medical Center death

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

A Wayne County jury found the Detroit Medical Center at fault in the death of a college student and awarded her family $40 million.

Terrea Holly, 26, of Detroit arrived at the Detroit Receiving Hospital Emergency Room feeling short of breath and showing signs of a pulmonary embolism on Oct. 17, 2013, according to the release. The ER said she had a virus and without conducting any tests, sent Holly home, according the family's attorney, Geoffrey Fieger. 

Holly returned by ambulance the next morning, having developed blood clots. She arrived unconscious and died Oct. 18, 2013, Fieger said.  

Fieger said DMC's defense during the case was "mind-boggling."  He said during the trial, the hospital said it was reasonable to send her home. But Fieger said they ran no tests and she showed "clear signs" of pulmonary embolism. 

DMC representatives Tuesday said they could not address trial issues.

Detroit Receiving Hospital officials said the judge, as required by Michigan law, is considering a reduced settlement which limits non-economic damages in medical malpractice.

"Detroit Receiving Hospital is committed to providing safe, high-quality care to our patients and we are disappointed with the verdict delivered," Detroit Receiving Hospital officials said Tuesday.

Fieger said the hospital has not yet requested the amount of the award, reached Monday, be reduced. Either way, he said, the Legislature has the non-economic cap in place, so the family will see a reduced award. 

"The verdict came back with an award of $40 million and if the DMC is saying it's anything less, they are lying," Fieger said Tuesday. "They can go back to the judge and ask for the cap, but they haven't yet. They are lying and that's the game that's played in Michigan. The DMC thinks they can get away with murder."

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Annette J. Berry presided over the trial, which lasted two weeks. 


Twitter: @SarahRahal_