A jury in Michigan has awarded $135 million to a teenager in a medical malpractice lawsuit related to a botched surgery. Some sources suggest that this may be the largest medical malpractice verdict in United States history. It is certainly an award large enough to gain attention across the U.S.
Read on to learn more about the lawsuit, as well as information about what you can do if you experience a botched surgery.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Stems from Botched Surgery
Faith DeGrand was just 10 years old when she was taken to Detroit Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Michigan (DMC) to have surgery on her spine. Suffering from scoliosis, DeGrand was to undergo surgery that would relieve compression and straighten her spinal cord. After surgery, she began to experience extreme pain and paralysis, and eventually lost control of her bladder and bowels.
During her time in the hospital, her doctor left for vacation, leaving her for 10 days until another doctor noticed how badly her condition had deteriorated. That doctor immediately took out the hardware in her spine, but the damage had been done. The little girl suffered from permanent quadraparesis in all four extremities, as well as permanent loss of control of her bladder and bowel functions.
DeGrand was unable to walk for more than a year following the removal of the hardware, and was reliant on a wheelchair. She continues to experience numbness in her limbs, seven years later. She is reliant on a catheter, and requires assistance with day-to-day activities.
In the lawsuit, DeGrand’s attorneys argued that the screws and rods were improperly inserted, and resulted in further compression of her spine, rather than relief. The hospital and her doctor were named in the lawsuit, with the doctor accused of medical malpractice. DMC and the surgeon claimed that the injuries were caused, not by surgeon error, but by a “phantom blood clot” that doctors never saw. They argued that nothing could have been done to prevent the injuries.
The jury deliberated for two and a half hours before rendering a $135 million verdict in favor of DeGrand. Representatives for DMC stated that they disagree with the verdict, and they are considering an appeal. For DeGrand, her family, and her attorneys, the victory is somewhat hollow. Attorneys recognize that the award will ensure that DeGrand has the medical care she needs for the rest of her life, but unfortunately, the award cannot give her back the quality of life she could have had if the injuries had not occurred.
The Dangers of Medical Malpractice and Botched Surgery
At Brown & Brothers, we have worked with numerous clients who have experienced a botched surgical procedure. Our goal as attorneys is to ensure that our clients have the legal resources needed to hold accountable those responsible for needless injuries. Medical malpractice and surgical errors are dangerous for many reasons. Read on to learn more, or contact Brown & Brothers to speak directly with an attorney.
Surgical errors occur at an alarming rate, and are catastrophic to patients and their families. Research shows that medical errors cause a host of long-term problems for patients and their families, including (but not limited to):
- Worsening of the patient’s condition
- Missed opportunities to improve the patient’s quality of life
- Loss of limbs (amputation)
- Brain damage
- Internal bleeding
- Nerve damage
Undergoing a surgical procedure is always risky, but healthcare providers have the responsibility of ensuring that risks are reduced as much as possible. Further, they are responsible for monitoring patients and addressing complications that may arise in a timely manner.
Not only do surgical errors present a host of physical challenges and risks, but families affected by medical malpractice also often face significant financial concerns. Medical care is costly in the best circumstances. When errors occur, there may be a need for additional treatments or surgeries, and ongoing or even lifelong care.
How to Get Help after Medical Malpractice or Surgical Errors
If you have experienced an injury after seeking medical care or undergoing a surgical procedure, it is important to understand what your legal rights are as a patient. You should never settle for substandard medical care. Contact Brown & Brothers to speak with one of our medical malpractice attorneys to find out more about how you can protect your legal rights and get the justice you deserve.
Contact our office today for a free consultation by filling out our online form, or by called toll free at 1-877-761-0905.