Healthcare professionals are expected to treat our ailments and add to our quality of life. So, it’s extremely unfortunate when a drug or procedure turns out to be dangerous. When a manufacturer or practitioner’s actions affect their patients’ livelihood, they ought to be held liable in a medical malpractice suit. This article explains the top three highest paying medical malpractice cases in the United States.
Largest Medical Malpractice Settlements
Allan Navarro v. Michael P. Austin, et al.
1) In 2006, Allan Navarro sued for medical misdiagnosis. He was a former pro basketball player who had visited University Community Hospital in Tampa when he was feeling sick. At the time, he described his symptoms as nausea, headache, dizziness, and double vision—hallmarks of a stroke. Even after informing the hospital about his family’s history of strokes, his physician discharged him with a case of sinusitis. Unfortunately due to his doctor’s error he remained in a coma for three months. Today, he is confined to a wheelchair and has difficulty swallowing food. Navarro was awarded $116.7 million in a jury verdict for economic damages and pain and suffering, in addition to 100.1 million in punitive damages, bringing the total settlement to nearly $217 million dollars. It’s considered one of the largest verdicts of a medical malpractice case in U.S. history.
Applewhite v. Accuhealth, Inc.
2) Tiffany Applewhite is now confined to a wheelchair and has a feeding tube due to the instructions of the EMTs assigned to her during an emergency. In 1998 in New York City, 12-year-old Tiffany required medical assistance after going into anaphylactic shock following a steroid injection. Her mother called for help, but the EMTs who arrived on the scene did not bring the necessary medical equipment. She was told to wait for another ambulance to come by, despite her mother wanting to take her to a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, it was too late to give her the attention she needed, and she suffered major brain damage as a result.
This case was originally dismissed since the court did not think the city could be held liable. However, it was determined that since the EMTs owed Applegate a duty to help her and violated the standard of care, they could be held liable in a personal injury case. In 2014, a verdict was returned awarding her $135 million, the largest settlement the city has ever seen.
Faith DeGrand v. Detroit Medical Center
3) Faith DeGrand was 10 years old when she visited a doctor for scoliosis surgery. Unfortunately, the surgeon made several surgical errors when he inserted rods and screws into her spine—instead of correcting it, her spinal cord became compressed, and she lost feeling in her limbs. Now, she is partially paralyzed. In 2018, a jury awarded her $135 million to hold the doctor who performed her surgery accountable.