Jury Awards Large Payment to Brain-Damaged Woman in New York

Often we hear about large awards paid to patients who were injured in hospitals or other health care facilities. An unusually large award was announced in the case of a brain-damaged woman. It is something of a landmark award because of the amount of money involved. The city announced it planned to appeal the award.

A Bronx jury awarded about $120 million to a woman who has been incapacitated since she was treated at three New York hospitals in 2004.

The award, by a State Supreme Court jury, was made in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Jacqueline Martin by her mother. Martin suffered brain damage after a series of hospital visits in February 2004.

This award was reported in the New York Times.

The award is among the largest ever issued for a medical malpractice verdict in the state of New York.

The ruling allocated primary responsibility to two city hospitals: 50 percent to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, and 40 percent to Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn. It also allocated 5 percent responsibility to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, and 4 percent to one of its neurologists. Martin, who originally sought treatment for a seizure, was found 1 percent responsible.

The city planned to appeal. In a statement, Suzanne S. Blundi, the deputy counsel for the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, expressed sympathy for Martin, but added, “The amount of this judgment is not consistent with the facts and the law.”

Over the course of less than a month, attorneys said, medical personnel mismanaged Martin’s medications, failed to respond swiftly to crises and did not provide essential treatments. She developed swelling in her face, eyes and throat in an allergic reaction to anti-seizure medication. She was later diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare and severe skin disorder, Moore said.

The Health and Hospitals Corporation declined to discuss the specifics of Martin’s medical history, but said that some components of the award appeared excessive. Though Martin, a mother of two, earned less than $40,000 a year as a claims adjuster, the jury awarded her $10 million in lost earnings. Martin’s medical costs since 2004, covered by Medicaid, totaled $583,000, the corporation said, but the jury awarded her $5 million for past medical costs.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families for more than 40 years in and around Chicago and Cook County, including Crystal Lake, Kenilworth, Evanston, Winnetka, Arlington Heights, Rosemont, Skokie, Orland Park, Melrose Park, Morton Grove, Des Plaines, Niles, and Oak Forest, Ill.

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