Articles Tagged with brain damage

A Missouri jury awarded close to $29 million this week to a then-college athlete whose rare genetic disorder went undiagnosed beginning in 2012, leaving her with devastating injuries.  The woman, who now is 24 years old, alleged that she went to her doctor in 2012 with complaints of fatigue, tremors, gait issues, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, crying spells and panic attacks.  Her doctor diagnosed her with anxiety and declined to prescribe any diagnostic testing.  Eight months later, after her symptoms worsened, the woman and her mother implored the doctor for more testing.  An MRI of her brain demonstrated that the woman was suffering from Wilson’s disease.

Wilson’s disease is a rare, hereditary disorder that causes excess amounts of copper to accumulate in the liver, brain and other vital organs.  Copper in the body contributes to, among other things, development of healthy nerves and bones.  Normally, it is absorbed from the food that you eat and any excess is excreted through the bile that is produced in the liver.  However, people with Wilson’s disease do not excrete the copper properly, causing it to accumulate in the body.  If it is diagnosed early, the disease usually can be managed well, resulting in a largely normal life.

As a result of the delay in the diagnoses in this particular case, the woman suffered catastrophic and permanent brain damage and now gets her nutrition through a feeding tube.  The jury’s award included 21 million for future medical expenses and other care costs, $3.2 million for future economic damages such as lost wages, and $3.2 million for future non-economic damages for her pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress.

After eight days of testimony and fifteen hours of deliberations, an Atlanta jury this week awarded $45.8 million to a woman who suffered catastrophic and irreversible brain damage just days after giving birth.  Three days after her child’s birth, the woman suffered a heart attack while undergoing x-rays.  Although she was able to be resuscitated, she was without oxygen for approximately ten minutes and suffered an anoxic brain injury that has rendered her unable to care for herself in any meaningful way.

In the medical malpractice lawsuit, the woman’s lawyers claimed that the heart attack was caused by the healthcare providers’ failure to properly monitor her blood pressure in light of preeclampsia, combined with pulmonary edema, also knowns as fluid in the lungs.  The defense took the position at trial that the woman’s decline was more likely explained by pulmonary embolism – a blood clot that breaks off from one area of the body and travels to the lung – than pulmonary edema, and that what happened to the woman could not have been foreseen by the doctors who were charged with caring for her.  The Plaintiffs countered that the doctors failed to properly address the woman’s erratic blood pressure and allowed a dangerous buildup of fluid in her lungs that caused her heart to stop beating.

The jury’s award included $9.8 million in economic damages for the woman’s future medical care needs and $18 million each to the woman and her husband for their pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress.

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