Stafford v. Burns – Cristy Chait, a Partner with Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, recently obtained a defense verdict in favor of her client in a wrongful death medical malpractice action. Plaintiffs, Kristine and Dalton Stafford, alleged the emergency room physician fell below the standard of care when she discharged their son Jesse Stafford after observation in the emergency department at St. Joseph’s Hospital for approximately 11 hours following a methadone drug overdose. Jesse Stafford was discharged and sent home with Kristine Stafford. He was found deceased approximately 24 hours following discharge.

ER physician denied liability, indicating Jesse Stafford was ambulatory, had normal vital signs, participated in a mental health examination, and was answering questions and cooperating with hospital staff appropriately. Defendants argued that Mr. Stafford’s death was not caused by the physician’s actions or care in the emergency department. Plaintiffs asked the jury for $1.2 million. The jury deliberated for approximately 2 hours and returned a Defense Verdict in favor of the physician and her group Empower Emergency Physicians.

Ms. Chait joined Jones, Skelton & Hochuli as a Partner in 2000. She concentrates her practice on medical malpractice defense, nursing home defense, wrongful death and personal injury defense, physician representation at administrative hearings and general insurance defense matters. Ms. Chait is a member of the Arizona Women Lawyers Association and is Co-Chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee.