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Amputee victim awarded millions in medical malpractice settlement

No matter the circumstances surrounding a patient's personal life, each and every individual in California who seeks necessary medical care should be provided with adequate and timely treatment. Despite repeated attempts to get care, an out-of-state man ultimately lost all of his fingers and both of his feet to sepsis, a condition that developed while he was behind bars. He has since been awarded millions in a medical malpractice settlement.

His time behind bars began when he was arrested after missing a court date for possible drunk driving. During his arrest, the man received a scratch on his arm. Although a simple scratch might seem innocuous enough, it later became infected with the streptococcus bacteria, a common cause of other infections like strep throat. However, when troubling symptoms began to manifest, his concerns were largely ignored.

It took four separate trips to the infirmary before nurses finally called a doctor for further guidance. Up to that point, the patient had simply been treated with Tylenol and ordered to stay hydrated for his troubling symptoms, which included blurred vision, dizziness and fever. After a blood draw and examination, the attending doctor suspected that the symptoms were caused by a bacterial infection in the scratch and put in a prescription for an antibiotic. Sadly, that prescription was not filled in a timely manner, and sepsis set in. Organ failure had hindered blood flow to his arms and legs by the time that he was taken to the hospital, and he ultimately lost both of his feet and all of his fingers to amputation.

It took several weeks of treatment and recovery before the patient was well enough to be discharged from the hospital, but other victims of medical malpractice likely already know that the recovery does not stop there. Rehabilitation and physical therapy are often a new necessity in the daily lives of victims, putting serious physical and financial burdens on them and their loved ones. Serious failures in care that lead to these types of catastrophic injuries might seem unimaginable, but the reality is that they can and do occur. When California patients are wrongfully injured because of negligence, attending physicians can be held responsible for their actions through the successful navigation of a medical malpractice suit.

Source: Washington Times, "State to pay $7M to jailed man who lost both feet, fingers", Feb. 3, 2016

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