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Colorado government waivers limit public hospital settlements

DENVER (KDVR) – The life of a 24-year-old skier may not be as worth it as you think in Colorado.

Joshua Brumm’s family has settled with Denver Health Medical Center and the University of Colorado, technically employing a number of medical staff involved in his care. Amount: $387,000, or the maximum allowed under Colorado’s Government Immunity Act at the time of his death December 2, 2020.

Brumm was transported to Denver Health on November 20, 2020, following a skateboarding accident. His left kidney was removed on November 27, but hospital records show he continued to bleed internally. However, Brumm was discharged on December 2.

Later that day, he collapsed and died. An autopsy report obtained by the Problem Solver revealed that Brumm died of “internal bleeding”.

“They messed up by letting him go too soon,” said Joshua’s mother, Lynn Brumm in a July interview with Problem Solver.

As part of the settlement, she can no longer discuss the case. But last summer, she told FOX31 she was wary of picking up her son in the hospital parking lot.

“When I got out of the car, he was bleeding through his shirt, through the thick bandages and the nurse just said, ‘Oh, looks like he’s leaking blood,'” his mother said in at that moment.

“A 24-year-old young man should not have been admitted to the hospital with kidney injury and died after being taken home to his mother’s care,” she added.

Public hospitals have government exemptions

A medical malpractice attorney unrelated to Brumm’s case found that the settlement was flawed.

Isobel Thomas said: “$387,000 for a substantial injury or death would never make a family or a person, so I don’t believe that is fair.

Joshua Brumm shortly after being discharged from the army on December 2, 2020
Joshua Brumm shortly after discharge from the hospital on December 2, 2020. (Source: Joshua Brumm’s family)

“No matter how bad the injury, whether it’s death, quadriplegia, the worst injury or the worst loss a family can experience, public hospitals will never overpaid $387,000, because that’s how the law is regulated in the state,” Thomas said.

Public hospitals in Colorado, like Denver Health Medical Center, enjoy so-called government waivers. State legislators have determined that regardless of injury or even death, hospitals are defined as a public institution that will not pay legal settlements worth more than a certain amount. At the time of Joshua of Brumm’s death, the amount was $387,000.

Thomas says that in Colorado, it’s better for a person to be killed by a cement truck driver than by medical negligence in a public hospital.

“If you get hit by a cement truck and get injuries similar to the ones we’re talking about, you could be disfigured, incapacitated, things like that – which in fact, in cases of medical malpractice, will get caught up in our hats. discussed,” she said.

Colorado increases the government waiver limit every four years based on inflation. On January 1, the government waiver limit was raised to $424,000.

If a person is injured or dies due to a medical error at a private hospital, this is known as the “soft limit” of one million dollars. In rare cases, the judge may raise the limit based on extenuating circumstances.

Lawyer: Difficult, expensive, suing a public hospital

Many attorneys tell the Resolver that public hospitals avoid some lawsuits because many medical malpractice attorneys find it too difficult and expensive to sue public hospitals – regardless of the possible negligence. happens – because of state management.

Denver Health Medical Center has no comment on state government immunity limits as reached under FOX31.

The Colorado Hospital Association has issued the following statement regarding immunological limitations for FOX31:

Colorado hospitals put the care and safety of every patient first in everything we do. Hospital staff work tirelessly to ensure that the care provided is world-class, and Colorado is fortunate to have access to some of the best medical care in the country.

The death of any patient is extremely difficult for all involved. It would not be appropriate for the CHA to comment on the outcome of this or subsequent litigation. Colorado hospitals, some of which are government entities, make every effort to comply with Colorado law, including governing liabilities. “

Colorado Hospital Association

https://kdvr.com/news/problem-solvers/colorado-government-immunity-denver-health/ Colorado government waivers limit public hospital settlements

Tom Vazquez

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