Calif. man awarded $150K in medical malpractice lawsuit
A jury has awarded $150,000 to a California man who suffered severe injuries during and after his treatment in a local hospital. Patrick Bell’s medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that negligence by the County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center led to life-threatening complications after an appendectomy which have left him permanently injured.
According to the lawsuit filed by his medical malpractice lawyers, Bell was admitted to Harbor-UCLA in August 2003 in order to undergo an emergency appendectomy. Two days following the surgery, he began to complain of severe abdominal pain, but was released from the hospital that afternoon, despite pleas from his family.
Later that evening, Bell returned to the emergency room, complaining of intense pain and bloating. He was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction and given a CAT scan, but the results were not reviewed for six hours, his medical malpractice lawsuit states. When the results showed a intestinal obstruction and other severe symptoms, Bell was readmitted for surgery.
Because of the swelling in his abdomen, Bell’s incision was left open. He was placed in restraints and put into a coma for six weeks in order to keep him from scratching the incision, during which time he suffered a severe infection, septic shock and respiratory failure. An I.V. in Bell’s wrist cut-off circulation to his wrist, which caused the onset of gangrene and forced doctors to amputate two of his fingers.
The jury in Bell’s medical malpractice lawsuit agreed with the testimony of an expert witness, who said that Bell’s level of pain should have alerted doctors to the serious complications he was experiencing. Harbor-UCLA appealed the verdict, but it was unanimously upheld by the appeals court, which found that the hospital’s treatment “fell below the standard of care” by discharging Bell.