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Family awarded $12 million for care of woman's brain injuries

Any Delaware professional is human and can make errors in judgment. Unfortunately, when physicians make mistakes, it can result in harmful consequences to patients. A jury in another state awarded one woman's family $12 million for the error in judgment that her doctor made and likely resulted in her permanent brain injuries.

The 46-year-old woman was prescribed and took Coumadin, which is a strong blood thinner, for a history of blood clots. Coumadin doses are different for every person and are monitored by blood tests. Apparently, the woman's physician sent her to the emergency room for Coumadin levels that were almost four times too high for what she needed. She had a history of super therapeutic Coumadin levels and had been adequately corrected on prior emergency room visits by vitamin K or a transfusion of plasma.

Due to concerns of the woman's other reported symptoms, the emergency room physician and his medical student on duty decided to administer the woman a drug called Profilnine, which has strict parameters of when to administer it. Although the woman's blood levels were quickly corrected by the drug, she began to form blood clots. The blood clots resulted in a heart attack and a lack of oxygen to her brain. The woman now requires around-the-clock care by her family as she lives life in a chronic vegetative state. The woman qualifies for minor state Medicaid care, which relieves the family only about 20 hours per week.

Because the jury believed that the woman did not disclose all of her health history to the emergency room staff, they reduced her monetary award from $15 million to $12 million. It is rumored that the family was originally offered to settle for $1 million prior to the three-week trial, but it has not been confirmed. The family is hopeful that the jury's verdict will allow them to provide better care for the woman for the remainder of her life. Any Delaware patient who has suffered similar brain injuries as the result of medical errors could also be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in civil court.

Source: tucson.com, "Tucson woman wins $12 million jury verdict against Banner-UMC in malpractice case", Stephanie Innes, Nov. 4, 2017

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