On March 20, 2014, after a two-and-a-half-week trial and one day of jury deliberations, a Cuyahoga County, Ohio medical malpractice jury awarded a former Cleveland Clinic neurosurgeon $7.7 million in medical malpractice damages for the allegedly negligent eye surgery performed at the Cleveland Clinic that resulted in a torn iris, causing his pupil to be destroyed and leading to his inability to perform surgery in the future. The Ohio medical malpractice jury’s verdict was not unanimous: the jury split six to two to award the former neurosurgeon damages for past and future income losses, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
According to the neurosurgeon’s medical malpractice claim, he was performing surgery on February 12, 2010 at the Cleveland Clinic when bone chips went into his left eye. On January 14, 2011, he had eye surgery at the Cleveland Clinic to repair his eye injury. The neurosurgeon alleged that during his eye surgery, a hole was negligently torn in his iris that destroyed his iris. The neurosurgeon has not performed surgery since his eye surgery and claims that he can no longer work (and has not worked since).
The neurosurgeon has also filed an employment lawsuit against the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, challenging his termination from the Cleveland Clinic.
With all of the obstreperous, baseless whining emanating from physicians, surgeons, hospitals, and other medical providers about “frivolous” medical malpractice lawsuits causing medical malpractice insurance premiums to skyrocket, which in turn causes medical providers to flee their profession because of the high costs of practicing medicine in our litigious society, and their self-incriminating allegation that they are engaging in medically unnecessary “defensive medicine” to fend off baseless medical malpractice claims (for which they bill and accept compensation from Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance carriers), all of which, they threaten, will lead to patients being unable to obtain necessary medical care from their white-coated, angelic medical providers, it is refreshing, revealing, and revelating that when a doctor is injured by what he considers to be medical malpractice, the highly-paid victim-doctor has no qualms in seeking full compensation for economic and noneconomic losses suffered as a result of medical negligence.
We do not criticize the former neurosurgeon for seeking full compensation for his injuries and losses directly related to the medical negligence that the jury determined was the cause of his profession disability. In fact, the neurosurgeon rightfully sought to obtain justice and fairness for the harms he suffered as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing — but isn’t that cherished right to be made whole for the harms caused by the negligent actions of others a right that everyone in the United States is equally entitled to enjoy?
Should states be allowed to trample the protections and limit the rights of people to seek and obtain just and fair compensation for their losses suffered at the hands of others? How does so-called medical malpractice tort reform that prevents victims of medical malpractice from being fully compensated for their actual losses, as determined by an unbiased, disinterested jury of their peers, serve the interests of justice? Tort reform perverts and precludes social justice, shifting the burden of the losses from those who committed medical malpractice to those who are the innocent victims of medical malpractice.
If you or a loved one may have been injured or suffered other harms as a result of medical malpractice in your U.S. state, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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