On the first day of testimony, a Lane County jury heard evidence involving the death of Lauren Jones, a University of Oregon student athlete who died in 2015 during an outbreak of meningicoccal disease.
Jones’ mother, Dorian Sanders, filed a medical negligence lawsuit against PeaceHealth medical center last year. It alleges the hospital and emergency room physician Christoffer Poulsen, were negligent in failing to give a routine blood test to rule out meningitis, by not administering antibiotics and by discharging Jones from hospital. The suit seeks 2.5 million dollars in total damages.
PeaceHealth denies all allegations in the suit. A hospital attorney argued Jones did not have any of the tell-tale symptoms of meningococcal disease while in the E.R. The hospital was aware of three previous cases of the deadly illness at the U of O.
Jones, a member of U of O’s Acrobatic and Tumbling team, fell ill on February 17, 2015. She was transported from her dorm to PeaceHealth’s University District Emergency Department. About three hours later, the 18-year old was discharged with a diagnosis of “influenza-like illness,” although tests came back negative for the flu. Nearly nine hours after being sent home, Jones was found unconscious in her dorm room. She was taken to PeaceHealth RiverBend where she was pronounced dead.
The case is expected to last up to two weeks. The jury, made up of 8 women and 5 men, will be asked to determine if Lauren Jones died due to the hospital’s negligence. For KLCC news, I’m Tiffany Eckert at the Lane County Courthouse.