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$23 Million Verdict Awarded in Medical Malpractice Case

Our Illinois personal injury attorneys were interested to learn that one of the highest medical malpractice verdicts in the history of the United States was awarded earlier this month.

On September 16, a Pennsylvania woman was awarded more than $23 Million by a Lehigh County jury. The 55 year-old victim had brought a lawsuit against St. Luke’s Miners Memorial Home Care after a neglected infection led to a double leg amputation as well as a finger amputation.

The Lehighton woman had originally been admitted to the hospital’s care for treatment with complications related to Chrohn’s Disease, but when a nurse failed to notice and failed to report a bacteria-infected catheter, the woman almost died from the infection as it spread throughout her body. Nevertheless, as a result of the deadly contagion, the woman had both of her legs amputated below the knee, as well as a finger from her left hand.

The trial took all of seven days, and the medical malpractice verdict came back as one of the highest ever in the country. The jury found that the nurse’s negligence, as well as the nurse’s employer, St. Luke’s Miners Memorial Home Care’s negligence, ultimately led to the need for amputation. In Illinois medical malpractice cases a hospital or employer can be found to be liable for improperly training or supervising the nurse to ensure that he or she performs his or her duties. Had the hospital taken the steps to make sure that the victim received the proper care, the woman would not have had to undergo the amputations, the lawsuit alleged.

The victim was awarded $23.12 million for medical expenses, lost earnings and damages for pain and suffering. This case provides a fantastic example of the fact that, in medical malpractice lawsuits where the wrongdoing has been especially egregious, juries occasionally bestow large-scale verdicts in favor of the injured party in order to send a message to negligent healthcare providers.

Unquestionably the woman’s injuries and permanent disability and disfigurement merited a large damage award, but the amount conferred went beyond payment of her medical bills. Indeed, the lead attorney on the case said in announcing the verdict that the victim “hopes that the verdict will result in St. Luke’s redoubling its efforts to help prevent catheter-related bloodstream infections in the home-care setting.”

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers understand how difficult medical malpractice cases can be, and understand the emotional and physical pain that they entail. Although cases that result in $23 million verdicts are relatively rare, our attorneys did win a $17.7 million medical malpractice settlement for a former police officer who suffered a life-altering brain injury due to nursing staff negligence at a Chicago hospital, and a record high $14 million verdict against a doctor and hospital for not following and ignoring abnormal chest X-ray results, which caused a substantial delay in the diagnosis of lung cancer.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of medical negligence, contact an attorney immediately to better understand your rights.