Anesthesiologist, 2 others reach $5.5M settlement over death of well-known principal, veteran

A high-profile medical malpractice lawsuit against an anesthesiologist, Hackensack (N.J.) Anesthesiology Associates and the John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack was settled for $5.5 million, TAP into Westfield reported on Nov. 11.

The entities and anesthesiologist were sued in July 2019 by the fiance of Derrick Nelson, EdD, a high school principal and military veteran who had fatal complications from a bone marrow donation procedure at Hackensack University Medical Center in February 2019.

The lawsuit alleged that physicians failed to account for Dr. Nelson's sleep apnea and weight, and that he died of hypoxic brain injury as a result. He was 44.

Hackensack University Medical Center was originally a fourth defendant in the lawsuit, but the family voluntarily dismissed claims against the institution in 2019.

The aggregate $5.5 million settlement involving the remaining three defendants was outlined in an Oct. 28 court document.

After the death of Dr. Nelson, whose military service included deployment to Afghanistan, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered flags to be lowered throughout the state. Dr. Nelson was the first Black man to serve as principal of Westfield (N.J.) High School.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine in Clifton, N.J., and Nutley, N.J., named a Student Life Services Center in Dr. Nelson's honor after his death.

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