Posted on Jun 16, 2011
After only a relatively short period of suffering, the family of a deceased patient was awarded $3 million for pain and suffering by a New York court.

The total damages came to $4 million, the remaining $1 million of which was awarded as compensation for the family's loss.

The story, as reported by Renal and Urology News, lacked specific details, but the basic narrative is clear. A 33-year-old mother entered Westchester Medical Center with abdominal pain. She had suffered pancreatitis -- the inflammation of the pancreas -- but was misdiagnosed with ovarian cancer. The subsequent wrongful treatment cascaded into disaster. First, the patient developed respiratory issues, which required her to be placed on a ventilator -- a machine that aids breathing. Shortly after, she suffered a tension pneumothorax (or collapsed lungs due to the buildup of air around the lungs), a heart attack, and anoxic brain damage (brain damage due to a lack of oxygen). The last 11 months of her life were spent in the hospital without movement or communication.

Her family, including her husband of 11 years and her three children, sued over these 11 months. A New York jury awarded $3 million for pain and suffering, along with $4 million for the family's loss. The trial judge later lowered the latter figure to $1 million. The defendants believe the awards are too high, and the case is now on appeal.

If you would like more information about how medical malpractice and wrongful death cases work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational website. If you have legal questions, pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] to answer your questions. That's what I do every day. I welcome your call.

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