Lever & Ecker, PLLC April 8, 2016 General
A former police officer is most likely feeling a sense of justice after a jury awarded him a little over $3 million in damages after a short, five-hour deliberation of his medical malpractice complaint.
The officer was taken to the ER with symptoms of dizziness and weakness. Doctors suspected a potential upper gastrointestinal bleed. During his examination, he informed his physicians that he had a history of peripheral vascular disease in his lower extremities.
Peripheral vascular disease is a type of circulation disorder that can affect the veins and arteries in the arms, legs, and organs that are lower than the stomach. Symptoms can include achiness, cramps, a burning sensation, fatigue, a weak pulse, and a change in skin color. If left untreated, the patient may suffer from a stroke, heart attack, and can even die.
The testing that was performed on the plaintiff revealed that he only had 41% blood flow to his left leg. Instead of consulting with a vascular surgeon, his doctor applied a Unna boot which is a type of special gauze bandage. He did not inform the plaintiff of the surgical options available. When the boot was removed five days later, the leg had visible necrotic tissue and the only available treatment was to amputate below the knee.
Later complications forced doctors to do a second above the knee amputation.
He filed a lawsuit against his original attending doctor and his employer alleging that he would still have his leg if the doctor had not treated him with the boot and had instead given him a surgical option.
After the jury announced that he was being awarded $3 million, the plaintiff reported that while the money wouldn’t bring his leg back, he feels that he obtained the justice that he needed to feel peace.
Despite having some of the best medical schools and hospitals in the country, New York accounts for around 20% of all medical malpractice cases in the United States.
The statute of limitations in New York is not as straightforward as the statute of limitations for other personal injury cases.
Generally, victims have 30 months to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. There is some flexibility with this, however. The 30 months begins either at the date on which the alleged malpractice took place, or, if the alleged malpractice is a treatment which took a period of time to complete, the day that the last treatment took place.
There is one other exception to this rule, regarding foreign objects. One of the most common types of malpractice involve a surgeon leaving a foreign object in the body cavity while the patient is under anesthesia. In some cases, the foreign object doesn’t begin to cause problems until months and even years have passed. If this is the case, the plaintiff has one year from the date of the discovery of the foreign object to file a lawsuit.
For children, the statute of limitations does not begin until their 18th birthday, allowing them additional time to pursue legal action once they reach adulthood.
Not until you have spoken with an attorney first. Doctors obtain medical malpractice insurance so that they are protected from having to pay out of pocket in the event that they are sued, however, that doesn’t mean that the insurance company wants to pay. They are after all a business that exists to make money. You have enough stress in your life as you try to heal, let an attorney deal with the insurance companies.
There is no way to exactly estimate how much a malpractice lawsuit is worth until all of the facts regarding the case have been reviewed. Each case is very different, as are the types of losses experienced by each plaintiff. For more information contact our office today.