On Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, a Scott County jury returned a verdict of $4 million for the family of Kathleen (Kathy) Hazen, who died after “a botched surgery and lack of proper care” at Genesis Medical Center in Davenport nearly seven years ago, according to a release Wednesday from the family’s law firm.

The lawsuit charged that the hospital and general surgeon William E. Olson, M.D., were negligent during and after the simple laparoscopic gallbladder surgery that led to the loss of the 61-year-old wife, mother, and grandmother. After a two-week trial, a Scott County jury held only the hospital liable for causing Hazen’s hemorrhagic shock, multi-system organ failure and her death on March 12, 2016, the firm’s release said.

Kathy Hazen, age 61, of Savanna, Ill., passed away on March 12, 2016. 

“There were red flags that Kathy was bleeding internally,” Hazen’s attorney Anthony Bribriesco said. “We need to hold our physicians and hospitals accountable if they ignore red flags that a patient has a life-threatening condition like internal bleeding.”

“My wife knew that something went wrong (with her care) at Genesis. She told me before she died,” said plaintiff Steve Hazen, Kathy’s widower. “I had to file a lawsuit to get answers and find out what really happened… I can’t get Kathy back, but the jury listened to her story and agreed that something went very wrong there.”

The jury found general surgeon Olson not at fault for Hazen’s death, but the attorneys at Bribriesco Law plan to appeal that decision.

The appeal will be based on the court not allowing testimony that Olson has been recently sanctioned and fined by the Iowa Medical Board and that the board also requires that Olson’s surgical cases be monitored by another surgeon, the release said. 

In December 2020, The Iowa Board of Medicine alleged that Dr. Olson engaged in professional
incompetency in violation of the laws and rules governing the practice of medicine in Iowa.

“When Dr. Olsen chose to testify as his own expert, we should have had the opportunity to cross-examine his qualifications as an expert,” said co-counsel Bill Bribriesco. “Iowans deserve to know when a doctor has been fined or sanctioned by the medical board, but we can’t usually mention that in court. This case was different, because Olsen put his qualifications before the jury and opened the door when he testified about other patients.”

Genesis Medical Center spokesman Todd Mizener said Wednesday that the hospital does not comment on matters of litigation.