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Bankruptcy disrupts medical malpractice award

Unfortunately for the thousands of patients and families forced to endure the consequences of surgical mistakes that occur every year in the state of New York and all across the country, the process of pursuing a case and gaining compensation for injuries can take years. Not only are medical malpractice victims left to live with the pain and often permanent results of their surgery-related injuries but they may also have to account for the lack of income and financial security they incur as a result of the incident. That is why judgments, however delayed, awarded to malpractice victims are often crucial in supporting them and their families. Having survived a surgery that resulted in serious injuries and complications, one woman endured the process of winning a malpractice suit only to walk away with nothing in the way of compensation.

The incident occurred in Florida in 2006, and involved a woman that underwent surgery for a fibroid tumor. During the course of the laparoscopic procedure, the surgeon apparently cut the patient's bladder and caused serious complications that resulted in the patient requiring subsequent surgeries and time off of work. Had the surgery gone according to plan, the patient was expected to be able to go back to work after a few days.

Following the incident, the surgeon identified as the defendant in the patient’s medical malpractice lawsuit filed for bankruptcy and changed jobs. As a result of the bankruptcy, the medical malpractice victim’s award of $30 million will not be collected for her even though she was granted a substantial amount of damages.

Cases like this illustrate why it is so important for medical malpractice victims to seek sound legal counsel early and learn their legal rights and options.

Source: Health News Florida, “Patient Wins $30M, Collects Nothing,” March 19, 2014

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