Family awarded nearly $20 million in medical malpractice lawsuit

Mistakes that are made in the medical profession in Pennsylvania often spark changes in procedures. For example, if a patient is injured when a medical care professional attempts to move him or her, a hospital may require that additional personnel assist with such an act in the future. Unfortunately, the patient who experienced the mistake may face serious consequences as a result. A result lawsuit filed in another state claims that medical malpractice caused a patient's brain damage.

The victim, a 29-year-old woman, was an employee of one of the defendants named in the suit before she became ill and required treatment. The woman required treatment for Guillain-Barre syndrome in July 2013. As is common for those who suffer from this syndrome, she required help from a ventilator while she recovered.

However, court papers claim that the doctor who inserted a breathing tube did so incorrectly; as a result, she only received about half the amount of air she required. The next day, a nurse is said to have attempted to move her without proper assistance, causing the breathing tube to completely dislodge. As a result, the woman was deprived of oxygen for approximately 35 minutes, causing brain damage; she spent over a year in a vegetative state before she passed away. A jury ruled that the doctor and the practice group that employed her must pay the woman's family $19.7 million. Several other defendants named in the suit settled prior to going to trial.

Unfortunately, the woman leaves behind a husband and two young children. In addition to coping with the loss of the woman's income, the man also had to deal with the medical bills stemming from the likely extensive, long-term medical care the woman required. As many people in Pennsylvania have found, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit such as this often prompts a change in procedure, preventing harm to other patients. In addition, the potential of a monetary award can help families cope with unexpected expenses created by the harm, including funeral bills, medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: dallasnews.com, "Jury awards $20M to family of Burleson woman who died after medical error", Caleb Downs, Aug. 31, 2016

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