Man Had Limbs Amputated Due to MRSA Infection, Awarded $17.5 Million | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A jury in Dallas awarded a man $17.5 million after he lost all his limbs due to a MRSA infection he acquired while in the hospital.  This malpractice suit was one of the largest in Texas but a $250,000 “cap of non-economic damages” reduced to amount to under $7 million.  After receiving surgery to treat ulcers, the plaintiff developed MRSA and had to have both of his arms and legs removed.  Although a number of doctors treated the individual, none prescribed him the right antibiotics to fight the infection.  The patient went in “septic shock” and the cells in his limbs started to decay and die.  He was taken to a different hospital where all four of his limbs were amputated.  

The victim’s attorney stated that the individual will now need around the clock assistance to do everyday tasks, such as brushing teeth.  The plaintiff sued both the doctors and the hospital.  A couple of the doctors and the hospital decided to settle the case but one doctor did not.  The doctor who did not settle was found “negligent and liable” and the jury awarded the amputee $11 million in non-economic damages.  In economic damages, the victim was awarded $6.72 million.  However, with the non-economic damages being reduced to $250,000 because of the cap, the plaintiff was awarded $6.97 million total.  Overall, the attorney was happy with the verdict but criticized Texas’s non-economic cap.

According to the attorney, there were a number of problems that were not addressed in the plaintiff’s hospital stay.  About three days after the plaintiff had his surgery, he began to develop symptoms of an infection.  By the end of that day, the patient experienced “septic shock.”  According to the victim’s attorney, the “infectious disease specialist” eliminated possible infections but never administered the proper antibiotics to the patient.  The plaintiff’s condition continued to worsen which eventually required that all four of his limbs be removed.    

The victim’s attorney claimed that the “infectious disease specialist” did not move quickly enough and gave the patient antibiotics that were known not to treat MRSA.  A specialist on “infectious disease” contended that an infection that is acquired in the hospital should be treated widely for a number of pathogens.  They also agreed that a “broad spectrum antibiotic” should have also been used to treat the plaintiff’s infection.  The defendant argued that he did not think that the patient had MRSA but an array of infections.  There was not a pre-trial settlement proposal and the defendant only offered $200,000 after the jury began to deliberate.