I'm sitting and listening to the jury's deliberations in the mock trial. After some debate, it sounds as if most have agreed that Dr. Berlin acted reasonably. "I can see both sides," one juror says, "but it's not his fault. There has to be effective communication, but it's not his fault." But a dissenting perspective comes from another juror, who notes, "I don't think it would've hurt him to follow through. The ED was twenty feet away. And it's a person's life."
So far almost everyone has agreed in favor of the defense, arguing that Dr. Berlin did his job and acted reasonably. "The hospital should be ashamed for having such a garbage process in place," says one juror. "It's the hospital. I think Dr. Berlin did what he was supposed to do."
"I disagree with anyone who thinks he should be policing the ER doctors," says another. "It's not his job to make sure that they do their job."
"He's been doing this the same way for years," says one juror. "And he's never been sued before. You say the ER's only twenty feet away. But another patient might come from the doctor down the street. Now it's two miles. How far away is the referring physician before it's no longer his responsibility?"
"I personally think somebody in the ER or something in the fax itself failed. Do you shoot the messenger?" says another.
It sounds like the group has, for the most part, agreed that there is a communication problem within the hospital itself. Whether this is Dr. Berlin's responsibility to compensate for is still up for debate. "If we find in favor of the defense because we're saying that he did his job by sending a fax, what are we saying?" says one of the jurors. But another points out that Dr. Berlin is just one person and shouldn't be held individually responsible for the hospital's negligent policies.
It's coming down to a vote. 10-2 in favor of the defense. Before the trial the jury had apparently decided that their decision would not have to be umanimous in the sense that they would make the process democratic -- a majority vote in the jury room would mean that they reported a unanimous verdict to the judge. Now it sounds as if they have agreed that since the majority of the jurors have found in favor of the defendant, they will rule that the defendant is not responsible for the lapse of communication in this case.
Not sure why, but now they appear to be agreeing on damages -- and the figure they've settled on is $30 million. I don't know why they're sorting it out since it sounds as if they're planning to let Dr. Berlin off the hook, but let that be a lesson to you -- malpractice settlements are steep. They've agreed that $30 million is reasonable to compensate the Rowley daughters for both their mother's lost income and their own pain and suffering. If you're anything like me, you may be wondering how you would even be able to spend $30 million, given the chance.
The audio to the jury room's been cut. I assume they're reaching the final verdict they plan to deliver here in just a few minutes . . .
Here comes the verdict. The foreperson announces that they've found the defendant not guilty.
NOT GUILTY! A triumph for radiologists everywhere . . .