Picture this New Yorkers: you are injured in a minor accident and require stitches for a cut on your hand. You go to the emergency room of your local hospital for treatment and while there you suffer a traumatic brain injury in a fall that could have, and should have never happened. That was the verdict of a judge, who stated in his ruling that the doctor’s negligence directly lead to the patient’s injuries. The patient, who was 17-years old at the time, went to the emergency room for a cut on his middle finger and left thumb that he sustained while working at a window manufacturer.
While he was being treated at the Chilliwack General Hospital in British Columbia eight years ago, he was given an injection of an anesthetic from the emergency room doctor. The doctor then led the patient to a treatment room with a sink that contained a high pressure water spigot for cleaning the wound before it was sutured. After turning the cold water on and informing the young patient to hold his hand under the running water the doctor left the room and the patient unattended. During the doctor’s absence the patient fainted, hitting his head on the floor.
The patient has finally been awarded nearly $1.5 million dollars for the brain injuries sustained by the doctor’s negligence. The B.C. Supreme Court Justice stated in his ruling that, although the emergency room was busy that afternoon and the doctor was up against a number of complicated cases, he felt the cleaning procedure the patient was told to undertake while in a standing position was excessive in light of the fact the wound had already been cleaned.
The fact that the doctor left the patient unattended, in a standing position shortly after undergoing a painful stimulus exposed the patient to a real and foreseeable increased risk for harm. As a result of the doctor’s negligence the patient suffered a mild but complicated traumatic brain injury. The patient suffers from concentration and memory problems, as well as issues with organization and planning, according to the judge.
The judge awarded the young man, now 25-years-old $200,000 in damages for pain and suffering, $1.25 million in damages for his lost earning capacity and $10,000 for future medical care. Although this was not a medical malpractice case involving a missed or misdiagnosis or a surgical or even a medication error, it was none the less a case of medical negligence that unfortunately resulted in the permanent disability to a young patient.
Source: The Province, “Brain-damaged man receives $1.4m in damages due to doctor’s negligence,” Keith Fraser, Nov. 1, 2012
Our medical malpractice law firm helps patients injured by the negligence of another similar to the case discussed above recover damages for injuries suffered. If you would like to learn more, please visit our New York Hospital Errors and Malpractice web page.