In May 2007, a Clay County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant who wanted to lose some weight opted to have laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery at a Jacksonville hospital. The day after his surgery, he collapsed and was in critical condition with respiratory failure. The man is now in a wheelchair, unable to walk, and suffering the effects of brain damage, but he understood enough to comprehend that on January 23, a Jacksonville jury awarded him and his family $178 million in damages for the negligence shown by the hospital.
The hospital was found to have erred when the patient suffered complications from fluid leaking into the abdomen, but it took eight days before the leak was fixed by follow-up surgery. During that time, he suffered a stroke due to low blood pressure. When his brain was deprived of oxygen and blood, he went into a coma for more than two weeks.
Now confined to a wheelchair, he cannot work, talk, feed, or bathe himself. Additionally, he did not receive eye drops for weeks during his care, burning his retina and causing loss of eyesight. He will need medical care for the rest of his life. The doctor, who had only performed about 21 bariatric surgeries, not enough to be accredited, has also settled with the man’s family.
At the time, the hospital claimed it was accredited on its pamphlet. Despite the blatant negligence and lack of patient care, the hospital plans an appeal for this Florida hospital malpractice case.
Farah & Farah’s Jacksonville medical malpractice attorneys send their condolences to this man’s friends and family. No amount of money will restore the quality of life he lost.
If you or a loved one has suffered from the negligence of a medical facility or professional, a medical malpractice action can bring your family some much-needed compensation. It also sends a strong message to medical professionals that patient safety comes first. While the money won’t do anything to restore this victim to the person he once was, it may help the next patient, as this hospital will certainly improve patient care after the jury has spoken.