A Palo Alto-based hospital group was recently hit with a $22 million medical malpractice verdict after a woman suffered a stroke during an unnecessary surgery recommended by her doctor. Medical malpractice is a common issue in hospitals throughout California and sometimes results in devastating injuries to a patient.
Unfortunately, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 limits damages for human suffering to $250,000. In this case, the jury awarded the Menlo Park woman $16 million for past and future economic losses and the rest of the award was for human suffering. This means that the woman will only receive four percent of what the jury felt was appropriate for her pain and suffering.
The woman's medical malpractice incident left her a quadriplegic and causes her to speak slowly and with difficulty. The woman also requires constant care, which makes her largely unable to care for her 10 and 16-year-old children as she did before.
Despite the significant reduction in benefits, the woman's attorney still believes that the funds will be enough to cover the woman's expenses for the rest of her life. It is unclear however whether the judge in this case will raise or lower the award or whether the hospital group will appeal.
Source: Mercury News, "Menlo Park woman receives $22 million medical malpractice verdict," Jason Green, March 21, 2012