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Jury Awards $28.5 Million For Medical Malpractice, Missed Diagnosis

In 2006, when he was 10 months old, Dens Pierre Normil suffered a stroke that damaged over half of the left side of his brain. Now seven years old, Dens has the mental capacity of an 18 month old, wears a diaper and must be watched closely because he has a tendency toward self-harming behavior.

Two doctors ignored the results of a spinal tap that indicated Dens was suffering from meningitis the night his mother brought him to the hospital. But for the medical mistakes that resulted in the missed diagnosis and the failure to administer antibiotics in a timely manner, the 10 month old likely would have fully recovered from the infection.

A jury found the two doctors had committed medical malpractice and awarded Dens and his mother $28.45 million to cover his actual expenses and pain and suffering caused by the medical mistake.

What The Jury Awarded, The State Takes Back

In 2003 the Florida Legislature put caps on the total amount of damages that doctors must pay out for medical malpractice. The jury awarded the Normil's $12 million for pain and suffering or non-economic damages, but the legislature said this is too much. Instead, the pain and suffering the Normil's are entitled to, despite the jury verdict, is $1 million.

One doctor involved in the case, Dr. Jeanne Uy Go, does not carry malpractice insurance. It is likely that the most the Normil's can collect from her for the missed diagnosis is $250,000.

The other doctor involved in the medical mistake that lead to a life-changing stroke for Dens Pierre, Dr. Maria Alva, is an employee of Kidz Medical Services. The Normil's will likely have to pursue the company next in order to recover Dr. Alva's portion of the jury verdict.

The jury found Dr. Go to be 75 percent at fault in the medical mistake and Dr. Alva to be 25 percent at fault.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, "Jury awards mother of brain-damaged boy treated at Bethesda Memorial $28.45 million,"Jane Musgrave, August 1, 2012

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