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Medical Malpractice Victim Awarded $2 Million

The government lost a Jacksonville, Florida medical malpractice case when U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams, Jr. ruled that Angela Burch was misdiagnosed. Mrs. Burch, a then 32-year-old mother of two, had undergone a hysterectomy, later found to be medically unnecessary. She and her family were awarded $2 million.

The wife of Army Major Daniel Burch received treatment at the Jacksonville Naval Hospital. There, doctors undertook the surgery without her informed consent and negligently managed her post-operative care.

Initially, a trained urologist diagnosed Burch with interstitial cystitis, a disease of the bladder lining that does not require removal of the uterus and ovaries. A gynecologist, however, decided that she had endometriosis, a disease in which uterine tissues lining find their was outside the uterus, causing lesions and pain. The gynecologist found that this disease was inside of the bladder, which experts say was unlikely. The Burch family was simply told that she had severe endometriosis of the abdomen.

It was not until the outset of the hysterectomy procedure that doctors found that the abnormal tissue inside was not endometriosis. The gynecologist later testified that the urologist never told her exactly what was found. Immediately after, Burch's reproductive organs were removed.

This case marks the third time since August that a medical malpractice case was lost involving Jacksonville Naval Hospital. Judge Adams found that Burch's reproductive organs were “perfectly normal and healthy.” Judge Adams also decided that this devastating case of miscommunication between two doctors was a “breach of the prevailing standards of care.”

The attorney for Angela Burch calls this judge's decision for this medical malpractice case both “fair and appropriate.”

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