After losing an unrelated lawsuit filed by his receptionist, a Texas-based doctor lost another lawsuit because of a negligent medical decision that occurred in 2003. His patient just won his case and will now receive $5.2 million for his loss of arms and legs.

Though this particular man has suffered considerably, he is fortunate to have survived this catastrophic mishap. Unfortunately, a very large number of people die as a result of medical malpractice each year.

Medical malpractice cases allow parties who are the victims of an act of negligence on the part of a health care professional to collect damages. This patient in particular had surgery to treat an ulcer, but unfortunately the procedure led to pneumonia and gangrene. Doctors eventually had no choice but to amputate his arms below the elbow and legs below the knee.

The patient filed suits against an infectious disease doctor, his practice in Dallas and the admitting physician. The infectious disease doctor was found to be completely liable even after appeal, and the $17 million dollar judgment was reduced to $5.2 million due to statutory limits on damages. However, the patient’s attorney believes that the trial court erred by reducing the damages and said that they will revisit the issue.

Medical malpractice claims can many times be based on whether the patient received adequate information from their treating physicians. A medical provider has an obligation to inform patients of all potential benefits, risks, and alternatives involved in any medical procedure or course of treatment. The doctor must obtain written consent from the patient before proceeding.

Even if a valid consent form is established, patients can still acquire damages for negligence during a medical procedure. If the doctor did not adhere to the proper standard of care when he performed the procedure and the patient passes away as a result, he will likely be liable for negligence. The jury will determine whether the physician followed the proper standard of care, and make sure that the negligent doctor pays for their mistakes and justice is realized on behalf of the victim.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, “Dallas doctor already sued this month must now pay $5.2 million for negligence complaint filed by patient, ” Christina Rosales, Aug. 28, 2012