Nurse Tosses Donated Kidney Into Garbage Before Surgery
Cleveland, OH (Law Firm Newswire) October 29, 2013 – The outcome of medical malpractice lawsuits may be affected by which hospital is being sued.
“This well known reported case involved an operating room nurse that threw out a kidney about to be donated to a recipient. The transplant organ was thrown in the garbage as medical waste and the woman about to receive the organ from her brother, woke up without her new kidney. She did receive a transplant three months later in another state,” recounted Christopher Mellino, a medical malpractice lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio with Mellino Robenalt LLC.
The upshot of this gong show was that the family filed a medical negligence lawsuit, suing the hospital for up to $1 million for emotional distress, lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, and other quantifiable out-of-pocket expenses. There is not much question the lawsuit would be successful in a court. The real issue revolved about the location of the egregious tort, a hospital considered to be a part of the state government. “Which meant, the most the patient and her brother could each be awarded, was $250,000. Furthermore, because the hospital is affiliated with the state, a plaintiff may not seek punitive damages either. If this incident had happened in a private facility, the outcome would be different,” Mellino explained.
In Ohio, the medical malpractice cap, instituted under an anachronistic concept called tort reform, limits the recovery of a victim. Tort reform is blatantly unfair and penalizes a victim twice —- once at the hands of a negligent medical professional and once at the hands of what should be justice in the courts, but is not. In essence, the law caps non-economic damages at $250,000/person.
“Anyone who suffers a life-altering injury at the hands of a negligent doctor knows that $250,000 does not even begin to touch the medical bills they face for the rest of their life,” said Mellino. Due to the fact the defendant is the state of Ohio, the case is slated for an Ohio Court of Claim judge in Columbus, and not a local jury.
In 1987 when tort reform went into effect, $250,000 then was far more than it represents now, some 26-years later. It was passed to protect universities in the public domain. The issue is the cap is not even indexed to inflation and is a mere pittance in cases such as this one. “However, if this case were tried under a wider ranging law, the medical negligence law passed in 2005, dealing with catastrophic body part losses, non-economic damages could hit $500,000/person, and the hospital could face up to $1 million in non-economic liability,” Mellino outlined.