Last year we gathered up some of the biggest medical malpractice cases of 2021, and our blog readers found it especially interesting. Now that 2023 is underway, let’s take a look back at 2022’s most noteworthy cases and largest verdicts.
Thapa v. St. Cloud Orthopedic Associates: $111 Million
In this case, a federal jury awarded a staggering $111 million to a Minnesota student who developed acute compartment syndrome after being treated for an injury after a soccer game. Thapa alleged St. Cloud Orthopedic Associates:
…was negligent in its care by allegedly failing to diagnose and treat the Plaintiff’s acute compartment syndrome. The jury ultimately found for the Plaintiff, awarding ~$500,000 for past medical expenses, ~$800,000 for future medical expenses, $10 million for past pain and suffering, and $100 million for future pain and suffering.
The type of verdict is referred to in legal circles as a “shock verdict.” Experts expect the defendants to appeal.
The Estate of Nicholas Carusillo v. Metro Atlanta Recovery Residences, Inc.: $77 Million
Nicholas Carusillo was in a Georgia psychiatric facility for treatment for his bipolar disorder and substance abuse when he was killed in a traffic accident. His family alleged that he “was forced out of the MARR addiction treatment center in Doraville for having a cell phone, which violated the center's policy. A few days later, he was hit by several vehicles on I-85, as he laid naked in a fetal position.”
A jury awarded Carusillo’s family $77 million in damages, holding MARR responsible for the negligent series of errors that led to his wrongful death.
Kromphardt v. Mercy Hospital: $97.4 Million
The lawsuit states the baby was in fetal distress during the birth in August 2018 and was not receiving enough oxygen to the brain, a signal that a cesarean section should have been performed to keep the child safe.
However, according to the lawsuit, Dr. Jill Goodman continued with a vaginal birth, including using forceps to try to pull the baby out, fracturing his skull in the process and causing brain damage.
The child has severe brain damage and will need 24-hour care for the rest of its life. A jury awarded the family over $97 million, a record-setting verdict for birth injury cases in Iowa. In November, one of the medical clinics involved filed for bankruptcy.
Dudley v. Iowa Physicians Clinic: $27 Million
Another large verdict out of Iowa involved a man who went to the emergency room seeking treatment for his symptoms. Doctors misdiagnosed him with the flu and sent him home. It turned out Joseph Dudley actually had meningitis and now suffers from permanent brain damage due to the misdiagnosis
Per the Des Moines Register, “The jury awarded the couple $12 million for future loss of full mind and body, and $10 million for future pain and suffering based on his life expectancy. It also awarded them $2.5 million for past loss of body and mind function, and $2.5 million for past pain and suffering.”
Melendez v. Mo: $19.7 Million
In this Pennsylvania case, a woman sued her primary care physician for malpractice after he allegedly failed to diagnose a spinal cord lesion. A jury awarded her $19.7 million, with Law.com reporting:
In February 2012 Melendez first saw Mo, her primary care physician at Penn Medicine, for symptoms of what was ultimately diagnosed as a dural arteriovenous fistula. Over the next few years, Melendez saw Mo for a range of complaints involving back pain and neurological issues, but she did not receive her diagnosis until 2017, the pretrial memo said.
Melendez claimed that by the time she underwent surgery to treat the malformation, her spinal cord had already undergone permanent damage that left her with leg spasms, incontinence and trouble walking.
This appears to be the largest medical malpractice verdict out of Pennsylvania in 2022.
Threat v. Gamble-Webb: $30 Million
Courtroom View Network (CVN) reports on a birth injury case out of Georgia where a jury awarded both a mother and baby damages after a botched delivery resulted in birth injuries to both. The jury also held an obstetrician and nurse liable. Per CVN:
The award includes $29 million to January Threat for the catastrophic brain damage she suffered during her October 2017 birth and $1 million for injuries that forced her mother, Eulanda Katriece Threat, to undergo an emergency hysterectomy.
The Threats claim Sasso and Gamble-Webb failed to properly monitor and treat birth-related complications that caused January Threat's oxygen deprivation. The birth-related injury has left her unable to speak and in need of a feeding tube to eat, among a host of neurological issues.
CVN noted that the Threat’s attorney mentioned that January’s heart rate went unmonitored for a full 37 minutes.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are increasing
STAT, a publication about medicine and healthcare, reports that medical malpractice claims are rising as the pandemic eases. Many of the cases delayed during 2020 are now reaching the courtroom and, per STAT, “many health systems are shouldering higher medical malpractice expenses than they otherwise might expect.”
One attorney told STAT:
Her current slate of cases leads her to believe hospitals have become less safe than they were before the pandemic. It could be because protocols designed to prevent sepsis or infections aren’t being followed as closely. Poorly trained staff or contract workers who aren’t familiar with a particular hospital’s protocols could also be contributing.
More than ever, it’s important to be vigilant regarding your medical care. If you believe you or a loved one were injured due to medical malpractice, our attorneys want to hear from you. Call the Maryland injury lawyers at Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment today. We serve clients and have law offices throughout the state.