On June 2, 2015, a now 25-year-old former college athlete in California received a verdict in the amount of $1,045,000 that included $285,000 for her past lost earnings, $730,000 for her future loss of earnings claim, and $30,000 for her past and future pain and suffering claim.
After the California medical malpractice jury rendered its verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney expressed his satisfaction with the economic damages awarded by the jury but his surprise at the small amount of noneconomic damages awarded by the jury, which he described as “incomprehensible.”
The defense attorney argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were not as a result of any medical negligence by the defendants but rather were known risks of the medical procedure (the defense attorney had argued to the jury that if it found in favor of the plaintiff, it should award between $75,000 and $100,000 for the plaintiff’s past and future pain and suffering claim).
The plaintiff was the former coxswain for the USC’s women’s rowing team when she had gallbladder surgery in February 2012 that allegedly left her with internal injuries and a massive scar extending from her navel to her sternum. The permanent, massive scar has caused her severe mental distress in the past and will cause her mental anguish into the future, for the rest of her life (the plaintiff was used to wearing two-piece bathing suits when she was a coxswain).
The plaintiff filed her California medical malpractice lawsuit in January 2013 against the surgeon and the hospital where her surgery took place. The medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant surgeon was negligent in performing the gallbladder surgery during which he caused injury to a blood vessel and caused adhesions that led to bowel obstructions, which the plaintiff alleged might result in a complete bowel obstruction in the future that would require further surgery. The plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit also alleged that she required additional surgery performed by a vascular surgeon to address a life-threatening condition that was caused by the defendants’ medical negligence.
Despite suffering the harm that she alleged was due to the defendants’ medical negligence, the plaintiff was able to return to the USC’s women’s rowing team about one month after her surgery, and the rowing team subsequently won the San Diego Crew Classic. The plaintiff was nominated in 2012 as USC’s female Trojan athlete of the year.
Laparoscopic surgery is associated with risks that are not usually risks of open surgical procedures; however, laparoscopic surgery also offers unique benefits that are not available with open procedures. Only through a comprehensive, honest, and open conversation between the surgeon and patient may the best method of surgery be selected for each individual patient needing surgery.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury in California or in another U.S. state that may be due to medical negligence, you should promptly find a California medical malpractice lawyer or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website to submit a short, secure form, or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959, to find California medical malpractice attorneys (or medical malpractice attorneys in your state) who may assist you.
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