Eisenberg Rothweiler Secures a $2,500,000 Jury Verdict for the Family of a Wheelchair-Bound Man Who Died After Falling On His Way Home From an Eye Exam

On July 11, 2015, William Pratt, a 75-year-old wheelchair-bound double amputee, visited the Wills Eye Emergency Department at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Center City Philadelphia. He sought medical attention for the significant pain he was feeling in his right eye.

Within 10 minutes of being discharged from his examination during which his pupils were dilated and he received an antibiotic ointment on his eye, he fell face-first down a set of outdoor concrete steps while strapped to his wheelchair.

Two weeks later, Mr. Pratt died from his injuries caused by that fall.

More than four years after his death, Mr. Pratt’s family finally saw justice served for him, with the help of Eisenberg Rothweiler attorneys Todd Schoenhaus and Josh Schwartz.

Recently, a Philadelphia jury awarded Mr. Pratt’s family $2,500,000 in damages against Wills Eye and Jefferson Hospital after a six-day trial.

Todd and Josh tried the case to the jury and secured the verdict.

The jury agreed with the family’s claims that the medical professionals who examined Mr. Pratt—including the triage nurse, the discharge nurse, and the attending physician—were negligent for:

  • Failing to advise Mr. Pratt of the danger of traveling home alone via his motorized wheelchair, given his impaired vision which became further compromised through the drops and ointment he received;
  • Failing to arrange transportation assistance for him by, for example, calling a family member or providing a cab voucher; and
  • Failing to document that they had instructed him accordingly.

Although no amount of money will bring Mr. Pratt back, Mr. Pratt’s family was pleased that the jury held the hospitals accountable for his tragic death.

You can read more about Todd’s and Josh’s winning efforts here in The Legal Intelligencer.

It takes a specific mindset, specialized skills and substantial resources. The types of cases we handle are not the average personal injury. They involve severe, permanent injuries to people that radically affect their lives forever, or in some instances, even cause their death.