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Monday, September 26, 2016

Dallas Jury Awards $19.7 Million in Medical Malpractice Suit

What are the grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit?

In the summer of 2013, a Burleson woman was admitted to Arlington Medical Center after she experienced leg numbness. The woman, who actually worked at the hospital as a surgical technician for several years, was subsequently diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). This rare medical condition affects the nervous system causing significant muscle weakness that can hamper breathing, often requiring mechanical assistance.

Initially the woman was fitted with a breathing tube through her mouth, but when her breathing did not improve, a doctor placed a tracheostomy tube through an incision in her neck. While she was functioning normally at first, there was a leak in the tube which deprived her of sufficient oxygen. The tube soon became dislodged and the woman's oxygen was cut off for 35 minutes, leaving her with severe brain damage.

She spent the next year and a half in a nursing home in a permanent vegetative state where she died in January 2015. Her family brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and her employer. During the trial in August 2016,  their attorneys presented evidence that demonstrated the doctor failed to monitor and fix the leaking trache tube.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when an injury results from medical treatment that deviates from the appropriate medical standard of care. This is the type of care that a reasonably skilled doctor or other medical professional would have provided under the same circumstances.

Medical malpractice cases typically require a thorough investigation and careful presentation of the evidence at trial by an experienced attorney. Because proving medical malpractice is difficult, a successful case often depends on a qualified medical expert's testimony.

The Takeaway

Individuals who need medical treatment trust that doctors and other medical professionals will provide them with quality care. Errors and accidents often occur during medical exams and procedures, however, with devastating consequences.

In this case, the jury found that the doctor and her employer failed to provide the appropriate standard of care by failing to monitor and repair the breathing apparatus. After a two week trial, and only three hours of deliberation, the jury awarded the family $19.7 million in actual damages. If you or a loved one suffered an injury because of a doctor failure to provide the appropriate standard of care, you may be entitled to significant compensation.

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