In our last post, we began a discussion about a Pennsylvania man who suffered cardiac arrest and severe brain damage after being injected with a chemical meant to improve contrast in a routine MRI. He had an allergic reaction to the chemical known as gadolinium. His treatment was unacceptably delayed due to lack of immediately available emergency drugs and some confusion among physicians about how to respond.

In late August, the man’s family was awarded $10.83 million from a jury after just 2.5 hours of deliberation at the conclusion of the medical malpractice lawsuit. In today’s post, we’ll take a closer look at news reports about that award and why such large payouts are typically appropriate in medical malpractice cases.

When interviewed about the outcome of the case, the man’s father explained that “All the money awarded will go into a trust fund for our son. His future care was the reason we pursued this.” The news article further explains that the jury determined the family was entitled to $4.62 million to cover medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering incurred between 2016 and now. The additional $6.21 million is to cover the costs of future care, which will include around-the-clock supervision for the next 30 years or more, because the brain damage left the victim with “the mental acuity of a young child.”

Over the past 10-15 years, there have been efforts in states across the country to enact “tort reform.” These campaigns, often secretly funded and led by special-interest groups, claimed that medical malpractice verdicts and other personal injury awards were excessive and were often based on overly sympathetic juries rather than the financial realities of a case.

Those allegations are almost never true, and this case seems to be a good example of why verdicts are often so large. Plaintiffs typically don’t “strike it rich” from a medical malpractice claim. Nearly all of the money goes to pay for the colossal consequences of medical negligence.

The sad reality is that medical negligence can rob a victim of their life or their quality of life. It’s impossible to put a price on that. But we at least need to compensate victims and their families for the financial consequences of preventable medical errors.

If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries (or worse) due to medical malpractice, please contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss your rights and legal options.