On March 3, 2017, a Missouri medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against her primary care physician in the amount of $28,911,000.00 after a nine-day trial of the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim that the defendant physician negligently failed to diagnose and treat her Wilson’s disease before it progressed to permanent brain damage.
The Missouri medical malpractice jury itemized its verdict as follows: $511,000 for past medical expenses and other past economic damages; $1 million for past non-economic damages; $21 million for future medical expenses; $3.2 million for future economic damages (not including future medical expenses); and, $3.2 million for future non-economic damages.
The 24-year-old Missouri medical malpractice plaintiff alleged that in 2012, she went to the defendant physician with complaints of fatigue, balance issues, tremors, feeling shaky, insomnia, panic attacks, crying spells, and difficulty concentrating. Without ordering medical tests, the defendant physician diagnosed the plaintiff as suffering from anxiety. The plaintiff and her mother allegedly pleaded with the defendant physician to send her for more medical testing. The defendant physician referred the plaintiff for an MRI of her brain eight months later, which led to the diagnosis of Wilson’s disease.
The plaintiff, who was a college student and an athlete at the time she was finally diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, alleges that she suffered severe brain damage and requires tube feeding as a result of the delay in diagnosing and treating her Wilson’s disease.
After the Missouri medical malpractice jury rendered its verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant hospital issued a statement in which it stated, in part: “We continue to believe the care we provided was appropriate and will consider our legal options.”
What Is Wilson’s Disease?
According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, Wilson’s disease is a rare inherited disorder that causes too much copper to accumulate in the liver, brain and other vital organs, with symptoms typically beginning between the ages of 12 and 23.
Copper plays a key role in the development of healthy nerves, bones, collagen, and the skin pigment melanin. Normally, copper is absorbed from food and any excess is excreted through bile. In people with Wilson’s disease, copper is not eliminated properly and instead accumulates, possibly to a life-threatening level. When diagnosed early, Wilson’s disease is treatable and many people with the disorder live normal lives.
Symptoms of Wilson’s disease may include fatigue, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, jaundice, a tendency to bruise easily, fluid buildup in the legs or abdomen, problems with speech, swallowing or physical coordination, and uncontrolled movements or muscle stiffness.
If you or a family member may have suffered substantial harm due to medical negligence in Missouri or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Missouri medical malpractice lawyer (or 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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