Wisconsin News

State Supreme Court Reverses Its Own Decision

The Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstated a $1.2 million damage award on Friday, reversing its own decision in a malpractice case involving the estate of a woman who died after a doctor misdiagnosed her condition.

Helen Bartholomew suffered a heart attack the day after she sought treatment for chest, shoulder, and arm pain at a walk-in clinic. For the next five years, she lived in a nursing home and ended up dying there in 2003.

Robert Bartholomew, her husband, sued the doctor for medical malpractice, claiming that the heart attack could have been prevented had his wife not been misdiagnosed, and also named the Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund. He was seeking damages for his loss of companionship and his wife’s pain and suffering.

In a 2004 ruling, the court cut the initial $1.2 million jury award to Bartholomew’s estate to $350,000 – the maximum allowed for wrongful death under state law –
citing that families could not collect for the pre-death pain and suffering of malpractice victims.

However, the state Supreme Court overturned its own ruling, reinstating the remaining $850,000 the jury initially recommended. In addition to the $350,000 for wrongful death, the estate will now receive $500,000 for Bartholomew’s pre-death pain and suffering and $350,000 for her husband’s loss of companionship.

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of misdiagnosis, you may wish to contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate your case. Please contact us to speak with an experienced attorney in your area. 

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