Cerner, the electronic health record giant, must stand trial for an allegation that a flaw in its design led to brain damage for a 25-year-old man, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled on Tuesday.
The suit was filed by Ruby Lowe on behalf of her grandson, Michael Taylor. Lowe alleges that the Cerner EHR system at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia, failed to input a physician’s order of continuous pulse oximetry after he had gall bladder surgery in 2016. She alleges that by failing to monitor Taylor’s oxygen level the night after his surgery, he incurred brain damage.
In late 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of Cerner and said there could be more than one cause of an injury and that Lowe failed to eliminate other potential causes. However, in a 2-to-1 opinion, the Fourth Circuit ruled that enough evidence existed for a jury to possibly conclude Cerner failed to warn users about software design defects.
Lowe’s suit seeks $50 million in damages.
In December 2021, the Austin, Texas-based Oracle bought Cerner for $28.3 billion. In October, the companies announced initial integrations at the first Oracle Cerner Health Conference, held in Kansas City, Missouri.
Representatives for Cerner and Lowe did not immediately respond to requests for comment.