A Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury awarded a man and his wife in excess of $4.8 million on January 25, 2019 after a two-week trial and three-and-a-half hours of deliberations. The jury awarded $183,673 per year for the next 18 years for the man’s medical expenses, $1.23 million for past and future non-economic loss including pain and suffering, embarrassment and humiliation, loss of ability to enjoy the pleasure of life, and disfigurement, and $350,000 for his past and future lost earnings.
The Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury determined that the defendant primary care physician was liable for 70% of its award and that one of the two defendant orthopedic specialists was liable for the remaining 30%. The other defendant orthopedic specialist was found not liable.
The 56-year-old plaintiff alleged in his Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit that he was under the care of the three defendant physicians in 2014 for an infection in his left wrist and forearm that later spread to his spinal cord. He alleged that the defendants breached the applicable standard of care by failing to timely diagnose and treat his spinal cord infection, which led to permanent neurological injury. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to diagnose that the infection had spread to his spinal cord based on his signs and symptoms, along with lab results and imaging studies. The plaintiff further alleged that the defendants failed to timely perform necessary medical testing and imaging that would have uncovered the infection in a timely manner (the plaintiff was reportedly unable to be accommodated in the hospital’s MRI machine and the defendants allegedly failed to make arrangements for the plaintiff to have an MRI where he could be accommodated), and they failed to order appropriate antibiotic therapy to treat his infection.
The plaintiff further alleged in his Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit that the defendants failed to stabilize and immobilize a compression fracture in his back.
As a result of the alleged failure to timely diagnose and appropriately treat the plaintiff, he lost all feeling from the chest down. The plaintiff alleged that had the defendants timely and properly treated him, he would not have suffered a permanent injury. The plaintiff had been a heavy equipment operator for an excavating company prior to suffering his permanent injury.
Ten of the twelve Pennsylvania medical malpractice jurors reportedly were in favor of finding for the plaintiffs – two were not.
According to the CDC, on any given day, about 1 in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI). There were an estimated 687,000 HAIs in U.S. acute care hospitals in 2015. About 72,000 hospital patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations.
If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of medical negligence in Pennsylvania, you should promptly find a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a Pennsylvania medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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