Earlier this summer, an Indiana medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $9.5 million in favor of the family of an obese 49-year-old man who died after the nurse at a rehabilitation facility failed to timely follow the orders of the man’s physician to transfer him to the hospital, which allegedly led to his untimely death. The man’s unexpected death was particularly difficult for his widow – they were married for only six years but were very much in love.
The disabled man (he had formerly been a maintenance man at a school) had injured his leg at home in 2011. He initially sought medical treatment weeks later when he had become severely ill with pneumonia due to an infection in his leg, at which time he was hospitalized. He was transferred to the defendant rehabilitation facility for continuing treatment for his leg infection after spending one week in the hospital.
On December 9, 2011, a physician who was treating the man determined that he was bleeding internally (the man was on blood thinners) and therefore instructed the staff at the defendant rehabilitation facility to immediately have the man transferred to the hospital. However, the staff at the rehab facility chose to perform medical tests at the facility instead of following the doctor’s orders. The man was subsequently transferred to a hospital emergency room later that day but died the same day while in the hospital.
The family’s Indiana medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit alleged that had the defendants followed the doctor’s orders in a timely fashion, the man would have received appropriate and timely medical treatment at the hospital that would avoided his untimely death. The Indiana medical malpractice jury agreed with the man’s family.
The man weighed 378 pounds at the time of his death. The defense argued to the jury that his obesity and smoking history would have limited his life expectancy to only 11 years. The plaintiffs countered that according to official government life expectancy tables from 2011, the man’s life expectancy was 30.6 years.
The Indiana medical malpractice wrongful death jury heard testimony from the man’s widow, whom he had married six years earlier, that he was a caring and wonderful step-father to her three children from a prior marriage. The man was a gentle giant who was described by his doctor as delightful and remarkable.
The plaintiffs’ medical malpractice lawyer believes that the Indiana jury understood the extent of the true love between the man and his wife, and that the loss of the man was a devastating loss to his family, which were reflected in the jury’s verdict.
If you or a family member may be the victim of medical negligence that occurred in a rehab facility in Indiana or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a local medical malpractice lawyer in Indiana or in your state who may investigate your rehab malpractice claim for you and represent you in a rehab malpractice case, if appropriate.
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