Keys v. Alta Bates Summit Med. Ctr.Annotate this Case
In 2008 Knox, the mother of Keys and the sister of Smith underwent surgery on her thyroid. When Knox was transferred from a post-anesthesia care unit to a medical-surgical unit, a nurse noticed Knox’s breathing was “noisy,” and called the hospital’s rapid assessment team to evaluate her. During the medical team’s efforts Knox was without a pulse for a number of minutes and as a result of her blocked airway, she suffered a permanent brain injury. She died after life support was withdrawn. A jury awarded Keys and Smith damages on their claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting an argument that there was no evidence to support the jury’s finding that plaintiffs meaningfully comprehended the medical negligence that led to the death of their family member at the time the negligence was occurring.