The Daily News just reported that a quadruple amputee has just settled for almost $18 million with the City of New York and with the hospital she was treated in. The settlement is certainly substantial, but it will not be able to take away the difficulty she now faces when caring for her three children.
Tabitha Mullings, 35, entered Brooklyn Hospital Center's emergency room in 2008 with kidney stones. After she her diagnosis, she was given painkillers and was eventually sent home. The next day, she experienced excruciating pain and numbness, calling 911 twice and facing two rejections for transportation to the hospital. Finally, her fiancé drove her to the hospital, by which point sepsis -- a severe infection of the bloodstream -- had already made its way throughout her body, causing gangrene. She fell into a coma and awoke to find both of her feet and hands to have been amputated. She also lost sight in one eye.
After a three-year legal battle, the defendants agreed to settle for $17.9 million because they thought a sympathetic jury might award Ms. Mullings even more. New York City paid $8.5 million and Brooklyn Hospital Center made up the difference. The settlement included her pain and suffering, as well as future medical costs.
In a case involving a delay in diagnosis and treatment, the key question is whether the patient's outcome and disability would have been any different had she received timely and appropriate care. This is a horrendous set of facts for anyone. Not only would this woman have generated an incredible amount of sympathy for her current condition, but the reported facts appear, at least on its face, that her outcome would have been significantly different with prompt treatment.
If you would like more information about how medical malpractice and accident cases work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational website. If you have legal questions, I encourage you to 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.