In the United States, medical malpractice is a major cause for wrongful death and personal injury. It is even ranked as the third leading cause of death by Johns Hopkins Hospital with more than 250,000 deaths occurring annually nationwide. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice to arise include medication or anesthesia errors, misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis altogether, injury during birth and delivery, and retained foreign objects such as medical tools post-operation.
The malpractice case considered to have one of the largest settlement amounts in history took place in Florida during the early 2000s. In 2000, Allan Navarro checked into Tampa University Community Hospital’s emergency room demonstrating stroke-like symptoms. Even though Navarro informed the doctors that his family had a history of strokes, he was diagnosed with Sinustis which is a common inflammation of the paranasal cavities. His doctor, Michael P. Austin, prescribed him painkillers and sent him on his way.
However, the next morning Navarro’s symptoms intensified. He returned to the hospital and by that afternoon was scheduled for surgery to relieve the swelling in his brain. As a result of the surgery, Navarro spent nearly 3 months in a coma. When he woke up, he had sustained severe brain damage. He is at risk of choking on food every time he eats due to his misdiagnosed stroke and is bound to a wheelchair for life.
Navarro and his family then sued Austin as well as two additional physicians’ groups who provided service in the ER. During the trial, Austin testified that an unlicensed physician’s assistant was the one to complete Navarro’s first exam. The two physicians’ groups have been dissolved since the trial.
At the end of the 3-week trial, the Tampa jury allocated $116.7 million to Navarro and his family for compensatory damages with an additional $100.1 million in punitive damages. They then decided to donate the entirety of the money from punitive damages to charities supporting others with brain damage and spinal cord injuries. Navarro’s brother-in-law Ed Bilbao stated, “This isn’t about money, this was about the quest for justice, and today in this court, justice was served.”
If you believe you or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice, it is important that you reach out to a medical negligence lawyer in Cleveland, OH immediately. Timing is crucial when presenting a case to the court so do not wait. The attorney can conduct a thorough investigation and determine if you have cause for filing a lawsuit. You may be eligible for compensation after seeking legal recourse for your malpractice case.
Thanks to Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co. for their insight into medical malpractice and misdiagnosis.