On March 19, 2012, after more than three weeks of trial, a California medical malpractice jury returned a verdict in the amount of $22 million in favor of a woman who suffered a debilitating stroke as a result of an invasive and risky diagnostic procedure recommended by her doctors for her life-long migraine headaches that her medical experts at trial said was unnecessary and dangerous and would not have provided any benefit to the woman based on the results of the non-invasive imaging tests that she had already undergone.
The woman claimed, and the medical malpractice jury determined, that she had not given her informed consent for the procedure because the risks of the procedure, the alternatives to the procedure, and the need for the procedure were not properly discussed with her in order to provide her the opportuntiy to make an informed decision whether to have the procedure.
What Happened To The Woman?
In 2006, the woman had a cerebral angiogram, which is an invasive and risky procedure that involved injecting dye into a vein that the woman’s doctors suggested may be the cause her migraine headaches. As a direct result of the procedure, the woman suffered a stroke that caused her to lapse into a coma for six weeks. When she awoke from her coma, she was unable to use the right side of her body and had limited use of the left side of her body. She needed around-the-clock care and was unable to speak or move for months after her stroke. She had to undergo exhaustive therapy that included physical therapy, speech therapy, and many other forms of therapy in order to recover from her injuries as much as possible.
At the time of the medical malpractice trial, the woman was able to speak slowly, sit in a wheelchair, and had the use of her left arm, but she needs assistance in order to stand. She still needs around-the-clock care and has to be turned every two hours at night in order to avoid developing bed sores.
The $22 million medical malpractice verdict included $2 million for the woman’s past medical expenses and her loss of earnings, $14 million for her future economic losses including necessary future medical care, and $6 million for her pain and suffering. The woman’s medical expenses are between $300,000.00 and $350,000.00 per year due to the injuries she sustained.
The $6 million that the medical malpractice jury awarded the woman for her noneconomic damages (her pain and suffering ) will be automatically reduced to and capped at $250,000.00, due to California’s cap on noneconomic damages. In other words, the woman will not receive $5,750,000.00 of the medical malpractice verdict that the jury determined to be fair compensation for the pain and suffering that she has suffered since the procedure in 2006, and for her pain and suffering that she will experience each and every day for the rest of her life, due to the medical negligence.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice in California or in another U.S. state, the services of a medical malpractice attorney may be essential in order for you to obtain the compensation for your injuries and losses that the law allows you to obtain.
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