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$38.5M award for potentially unnecessary medical procedure

A man who was seriously injured when a medical procedure went wrong was recently awarded $38.5 million by a jury. The award came at the end of a four-week jury trial regarding the incident that left the man in a vegetative state. The lawsuit was filed in early 2009, not long after the man sustained the serious injuries. Though the case did not take place in Pennsylvania, it certainly could have.

At the time of the injuries the man was reportedly undergoing a procedure called "manipulation under anesthesia." During it, something apparently happened that caused the man's brain to not get oxygen for a period of a few minutes. This in turn led to cardiac arrest and injuries to his brain that are permanent. Some allege that the procedure the man received was not necessary to treat his medical condition, diabetes.

As a result of the procedure, the man cannot move or talk. The only way he can communicate is using his eyes, by either crying or blinking. Though not married when the injury occurred, the man was engaged to the mother of his two children. The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed on behalf of the man against three doctors who were apparently involved in the procedure.

Only two of those doctors were ultimately found responsible for the man's injuries. Of the $38.5 million award, the majority, $23.57 million was allotted to cover medical expenses, both past and future. Another $5 million was for the pain and suffering he endured. The remaining $10 million is to be split between his two elementary aged children.

Source: South Florida Times, "Jury Hits 2 Doctors with $38.5M in Medical Negligence Verdict," Mohamed Hamaludin, May 23, 2013

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