Legal Examiner, Oct. 8, 2015
Tort reform keeps rearing its ugly head; here is yet another case where a plaintiff was denied full adjudication by a jury of his/her peers because of a legislative capped recovery.
A North Carolina jury awarded a woman more than $7.5 million, $3.24 million in economic losses and $4 million in non-economic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.), in a medical malpractice lawsuit against Owen Drive Surgical Clinic of Fayetteville. Her husband, was awarded $300,000 for his loss of consortium.
According to the lawsuit, a surgeon of Owen Drive Surgical removed part of the woman’s colon in June 2010 because it had a potentially cancerous mass (that was later ruled benign). The lawsuit alleged that the surgeon made a mistake that left a leaking hole in the woman’s bowels which caused dangerous abdominal infections. Over the next four months, the woman endured lengthy hospital stays, a six-week coma and three more surgeries because of the infections, her lawyers said. It wasn’t until October 2010, that a colonoscopy revealed the leak.