Oracle Cerner ordered to stand trial in brain damage lawsuit

A U.S. appeals court has ordered Oracle Cerner to stand trial in a lawsuit accusing the company's software of causing a patient's brain damage.

Ruby Lowe filed the lawsuit on behalf of her grandson, Michael Taylor, who allegedly suffered brain damage at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington after he didn't receive the continuous pulse oximetry his physician ordered through the Cerner EHR.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled Nov. 29, by a 2-1 majority, that a district court erred in granting summary judgment to Cerner. 

"A jury reasonably could conclude that Cerner's software contained two design defects that did not comply with industry standards or satisfy reasonable consumer expectations," the majority opinion reads. "We also hold that the district court misstated Virginia law on proximate causation, which provides that there can be more than one cause of an injury and, contrary to the court's holding, did not require Lowe to eliminate other causes of the injury."

Oracle Cerner representatives didn't respond to a request from Becker's for comment.

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