10 of the Biggest Medical Malpractice Payouts in the Last Decade
There are some absolutely appalling stories about medical malpractice – from the wrong leg being amputated to the wrong heart valve being replaced, from unborn children starved of oxygen to a screwdriver being implanted instead of a titanium rod. Here are 10 of the biggest medical malpractice payouts in the last decade (sourced from Lexis Nexis and Lawyers and Settlements):
- Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, came to a substantial $190 million settlement with more than 9,000 plaintiffs in 2014 after it was revealed that it had failed to properly supervise Dr. Nikita Levy, a gynecologist employed at the hospital from 1988 to 2013. Dr. Levy used surveillance equipment, such as a camera pen, to secretly photograph his patients. The hospital fired Dr. Levy in 2013, and he committed suicide less than two weeks later.
- The City of New York and EMS were directed to pay a staggering $172 million to 12-year-old Tiffany Applewhite in 2014 following a 1998 incident in which an EMS ambulance that arrived in response to a 911 call was not equipped with advanced life support equipment. Delays in transporting her to the hospital left Tiffany paralyzed with severe brain damage. The jury award included compensation for past and future pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment as well as medical expenses.
- St. John’s Riverside Hospital and obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Shahram Razman in Westchester, New York, was directed to pay a considerable $77 million to the family of a 3-year-old boy in 2009. It was the family’s allegation that unnecessary delays during childbirth left the child with cerebral palsy due to insufficient oxygen supply to the brain.
- Winthrop University Hospital in Los Angeles, California, was directed to pay a momentous $62 million to 34-year-old Stacey Galette in 2014. Galette underwent surgery for ectopic pregnancy (where the fertilized embryo gets implanted in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus). Post-surgery, Galette spent months in intensive care and suffered three cardiac arrests, ending up with a colostomy, skin grafts, and bilateral below-the-knee amputations. The jury found the treating physicians guilty of deviating from the accepted standards of care.
- Dr. Ferdinand A. Ofodile, a Queens County plastic surgeon from New York was ordered to pay $60 million to Bronx resident Allison Hugh in 2010 after a botched thigh lift procedure that left her with permanent deformities of the labia of her vagina. The jury unanimously ruled in favor of Ms. Hugh with the opinion that the doctor failed to advise her of the potential risks of the procedure and that proper surgical technique was not exercised.
- Dr. Andrew D. Weiss was ordered to pay $37 million to 42-year-old Kathleen Ramey of Palm Beach County, Florida, in 2010 as compensation for permanent injuries resulting from a steroid injection given directly into the spine, leading to the formation of a fluid-filled cavity and leaving her crippled and limping. It is expected that the weakness in Ms. Ramey’s legs will eventually leave her unable to walk.
- Two physicians at the Memorial Hospital of Tampa, Florida, settled and paid $30 million to 47-year-old Sally Lucia in 2007 who lost all of her fingers and a large part of her legs following medical negligence in the treatment of an infection that occurred after she underwent a tummy tuck procedure.
- Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, was ordered to pay $29.1 million to Christian Arroyo in 2010 for negligence in obstetric and neonatal care at the time of his birth. Christian’s mother did not receive the necessary antibiotics, leading to infection and permanent brain damage in her baby. Due to his spastic paraplegia and cerebral palsy, Christian remains tube fed and wheelchair bound.
- Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was ordered to pay $19 million in settlement to Ronald S. Campbell in 2011 for untreated hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Despite three severe episodes over a period of two days, Campbell was discharged home in the dead of the night and suffered permanent brain damage.
- The University of Illinois Medical Center paid $14 million to settle two separate medical malpractice lawsuits in 2008. One case was settled for $9 million for failure to recognize fetal distress resulting in permanent neurological damage in the infant. The other case was awarded $4.8 million for failure to treat jaundice in a premature infant, resulting in brain damage.