A life sentence

When we read of a criminal who has done terrible things, it can be a relief to know that he will be locked up in an Arizona prison and away from society. In some cases, a life sentence with no possibility of parole is meted out for an especially brutal crime.

In certain ways, victims of medical malpractice can receive a similar life sentence. They must spend the rest of their lives with the physical and mental consequences of terrible injuries inflicted on them by negligent doctors or hospitals. The major differences, of course, are that victims of medical malpractice have done nothing wrong, and that their prisons are not made of steel and concrete. Their prisons are made of flesh and blood: they are trapped inside their own bodies; bodies that no longer function well because of preventable medical errors.

In a case we read about recently, a medical malpractice victim needs “health care around the clock for the rest of her life,” her attorney said. After a successful trial, the Indiana woman will receive $14.4 million to compensate her for the damages done to her by a pair of negligent surgeons.

According to a news report, the hospital where she had her bariatric surgery that left her with brain damage reached a separate $5 million settlement with her prior to the trial.

Her attorney said that with the verdict and the settlement, the 52-year-old’s medical needs can now be taken care of for the rest of her life.

The doctors performed a gastric bypass operation on her in 2010, but had the wrong anticoagulant administered to her during the procedure. As a result, she suffered massive internal bleeding, loss of blood to the brain and subsequent damage to the brain.

She now has cognitive losses, can no longer walk and needs around-the-clock care.

With the help of her attorney, she will get the skilled and focused care she needs.