$8.4 Million Awarded in Medical Malpractice Suit
A major precedent has been set in medical malpractice this week in the state of Wisconsin. Jessica Greenfield was awarded the largest amount ever by a jury in a medical malpractice suit, amounting to approximately $8.4 million in actual and punitive damages.
Greenfield, who underwent surgery in 2000 to alleviate an acid reflux health problem, was the victim of a grave surgical mistake in which her nerves were severed leaving her to be tube fed for the rest of her life.
While defense attorney Bruce Schultz alleges that there was not negligence on the part of the surgeon, the plaintiff's representative has described the case as, “the perfect example”, of why caps should not be allowed on medical malpractice suits. Prosecuting attorney Daniel Rotter adds that his client deserves every penny that has been awarded.
Damages were awarded to the plaintiff for $4.25 million for pain and suffering endured through her injury, as well as $4.13 million in damages to cover medical expenses such as medical bills, lost wages and other financial burdens. Greenfield's son was also awarded an additional $82,000 in damages for loss of maternal companionship.
The ruling to award Jessica Greenfield $8.4 million has worried many in the medical profession considering the future of medical malpractice litigation. “The verdict confirms in spades the fears and concerns that we have been expressing since the cap was overturned,” commented the vice president of the Wisconsin Hospital Association.
In December of 2005, Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin vetoed a bill designed to cap damages in medical malpractice suits. The bill would have limited punitive damages at the amount of $450,000 for adults, and $550,000 for children.
The agency has commented that they expect this ruling to expedite the process to pass legislation.
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