In a state that borders Georgia, a jury decided that a paralyzed man and his wife should receive a combinded $2.85 miillion as compensation for a doctor's medical malpractice which the jury found contributed to the man's paralysis.
The case was filed against an orthpedic surgeon who was responsible for treating the now paralyzed man after he suffered an injury in a serious car wreck. The man was apparently bleeding significantly, having cut more than one of his arteries in his arm as a result of the car accident. The surgeon began to prepare to operate on the arm in order to control the bleeding.
However, because the man had also hurt his knee in the accident, the surgeon ordered that the man have a CAT scan of the knee before surgery. This, according to some experts, was a serious mistake since the man was showing signs of impending cardiac arrest. During the delay in surgery, the man's heart did in fact stop for several minutes until staff could revive the man.
Unfortunately, because of the lack of blood circulation, a part of the man's spinal cord suffered severe and irreparable damage, leaving the man a paraplegic. After hearing the man's story, the jury awarded $2.3 million to the man on account of the medical malpractice and also awarded over $500,000 to the man's wife. The award will likely be one of the highest jury verdicts for its respective state in 2013.
While certainly Georgia doctors should try to treat all of their patients' illnesses and injuries, there is clearly a hierarchy of importance, it is up to a doctor to set appropriate priorities, particularly in an emergency situation. When a doctor delays a vital treatment for the sake of something more pereipheral, a patient who is injured as a result may be eligible for compensation.
Source: Myrtle Beach Online, "Jury awards $2.85 miliion in Myrtle Beach area medical malpracitce lawsuit," David Wren, Sept. 17, 2013