On August 31, 2016, a Texas medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $19.7 million against a Texas physician and the physician’s employer for the catastrophic injuries and death suffered by a former surgical technician as a result of medical negligence. The Texas medical malpractice jury trial lasted more than two weeks, and the jury deliberated for less than three hours, before the jury awarded the woman’s family the substantial compensatory damages for their losses and the harms they suffered.
The Alleged Facts
During the summer of 2013, the woman was admitted to the hospital where she had worked as a surgical technician since 2005, complaining of leg numbness. She was diagnosed with the potentially life-threatening condition know as Guillain-Barre syndrome, which sometimes requires temporary mechanical breathing assistance. The woman was initially provided a breathing tube inserted through her mouth that was later changed to a breathing tube inserted through an incision made in her neck (a tracheostomy tube). At first, she was alert and awake even though she was unable to talk.
According to testimony during the Texas medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit, the breathing tube was providing less than one-half the necessary air flow due to a leak but the defendant physician negligently failed to monitor her and negligently failed to diagnose and respond to the air leak. The next morning, the breathing tube became dislodged, which caused the woman to be deprived of oxygen for 35 minutes, leading to catastrophic and permanent brain damage. She was later transferred to a nursing home where she died in January 2015.
The Texas medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit brought by her husband on behalf of her estate, himself, and their two young children sought compensatory damages for his wife’s injuries and death and the emotional harm that the family suffered from her death due to the medical negligence of the defendants.
What Is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
According to the CDC, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an uncommon sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness, and sometimes, paralysis. GBS symptoms include weakness of the arms and legs and, in severe cases, can affect the muscles that control breathing. The symptoms can last a few weeks or several months. Most people fully recover from GBS, though some people have permanent damage but very few people die from GBS.
Most cases of GBS tend to occur for an unknown reason. An estimated 3,000 to 6,000 people ( 1 to 2 cases per 100,000 people) develop GBS each year in the US.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury or death in Texas that may be due to medical negligence, you should promptly find a Texas medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a Texas medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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