Earlier this month, a New York State Supreme Court medical malpractice jury returned a verdict in favor of the medical malpractice plaintiff in the amount of $9.1 million, which included $2.8 million for economic losses (past and future medical expenses and lost wages), $6 million for noneconomic damages ($2 million for past pain and suffering and $4 million for future pain and suffering), and $350,000 to the plaintiff’s ex-wife, for loss of services.
The Underlying Facts
The now 45-year-old plaintiff, who was a public safety dispatcher for the City of Tonawanda, New York, fell on some steps as he was going to work in October 2004. He was treated by a physician for his ankle fracture that caused pain on the side of his foot, near his small toe. After about one year of treatment, the man switched treating physicians and came under the care of the medical malpractice defendant.
The defendant physician eventually amputated the man’s little toe, after which the man suffered an infection. The defendant then amputated the man’s fourth toe, after which the pain did not subside. Subsequent treatment include a below-the-knee amputation of the man’s leg, in July 2009. Over the entire course of medical treatment by the medical malpractice defendant, the man underwent 12 surgical procedures.
A post-surgical infection following the below-the-knee amputation led to an above-the-knee amputation performed by another physician, in September 2009.
The man filed his medical malpractice lawsuit against the physicians and their medical practices that had treated him. After fifteen days of trial, the medical malpractice jury found in favor of the original physician who had treated the man shortly after his injury, as well as the original physician’s medical practice, but the jury determined that the physician who treated the man between 2005 and 2009, as well as that physician’s medical practice, had been negligent.
The man had been married and living with his wife and son at the time of his injury. He subsequently divorced from his wife and moved to another city in Upstate New York. He has not worked since his amputations in 2009. He claimed that the defendants’ medical negligence and his resulting amputations have destroyed his life and led to his depression.
It is sobering to think that someone walking to work can suffer a fall resulting in an ankle fracture that ultimately leads to 12 surgeries culminating in amputation of a leg. The pain that the man endured, and continues to endure, is a frightful reminder that life is perilous. It is when the perils of life are exacerbated by medical negligence that leads to serious harms that the law provides for compensation for the losses incurred as a result of substandard medical care.
If you or a family member suffered serious injury as a result of medical malpractice in the United States, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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