A dramatic medical malpractice case came to a close recently with an $18 million settlement from New York City and the Brooklyn Hospital Center. The case involved a woman who lost her feet and hands, as well as sight in one eye, because of medical mistakes from emergency technicians and hospital workers. The medical groups agreed to settle the claim because they feared that the woman would elicit too much sympathy during a jury trial.
Malpractice claims such as this are a national problem, affecting thousands of patients everywhere, even in Illinois, each year. Fatalities and injuries as a result of medical malpractice can have a significant impact on victims' and families' lives, and it is important to hold hospitals accountable for their actions or inaction.
The woman's medical saga began in 2008, when she went to the hospital and was diagnosed with kidney stones. She was given painkillers and sent home, according to local news sources. The next day, the woman was in excruciating pain and called 911 two times. For some reason, medics refused to transport her to the hospital despite repeated requests.
Her fiancé eventually took her to the emergency room, where medical professionals found that a sepsis infection had spread throughout her body's systems. The woman went into a coma and the infected areas became gangrenous. She woke up to find that both of her hands and feet had to be amputated while she was unconscious, and she had lost sight in one eye.
Some of the $18 million settlement will compensate the woman for her future medical costs, as well as for her pain and suffering. Although the woman said she is happy that she will be able to afford future medical care, she says the money cannot possibly restore her missing limbs. The woman faces a lifetime of medical woes because of the physicians' and medics' poor decision-making skills.
Source: Reuters, "NYC Multiple Amputee Wins $18M from City, Hospital," Stephanie Rabiner, March 6, 2012