In this case, a 32-year-old mechanic entered Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas in September 2002 for open-heart surgery to repair an improperly functioning valve. According to a July 1st, 2009 account in the Houston Chronicle patient John German also required surgical repair of stitches that failed, soon followed by another procedure to implant an artificial valve.
However, the 32-year-old patient at the center of the medical malpractice case developed gangrene. In an effort to save his life, doctors had to amputate his left leg above the knee. German also lost all his toes on his right foot, and all of his fingers.
An attorney for Methodist was quoted as saying Methodist stood behind its nurses and believed nursing staff provided adequate care in every facet of German's ordeal, which stretched over a 3-month period ending in December, 2002.
However German's medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that Methodist's staff failed to properly monitor German for a potential immunological reaction after heparin was administered. According to the Chronicle a side effect to the blood thinner is excessive bleeding. The plaintiff' alleged the condition resulted in his gangrene.
According to the terms of the settlement the hospital is liable for half the $10 million award. The remainder was assessed to doctors.
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"It's been a long time coming, but I feel vindicated," said the plaintiff in a statement carried by the Chronicle. "It's like closing a painful chapter in my life, even though I have to live every day like this."
It is expected that Methodist Hospital will appeal the jury verdict, which was brought down June 30th.
The Chronicle did not delve into how German's life had changed since his tangle with medical malpractice. The medical malpractice law award, if upheld, will help the former mechanic deal with a life without the fingers, toes and left leg lost to him as the result of alleged medical malpractice negligence.