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Date: 01-24-2000

Case Style: May Henry v. San Angelo Community Medical Center

Case Number: C-99-0457-C

Judge: Dick Alcala

Court: 340th District Court, Tom Green County, Texas

Plaintiff's Attorney: Lawrence P. Wilson, Houston, Texas

Defendant's Attorney: Brian G. Hamilton of Strasburger & Price, L.L.P., Dallas, Texas

Description: Mediacla Malpractice - Negligence - Plaintiff was an 87 year-old woman who sought medical treatment for pneumonia at the San Angelo Community Medical Center. During her stay, she fell off of a bed-side toilet and struck her head on the floor when one of the legs of the toilet broke. The fall caused gastrointestinal bleeding which was stopped by a cauterization procedure. Following the procedure, plaintiff was left unattended while in a raised bed with two of the four bed rails down. Plaintiff fell off of the bed causing the ocular globe in her left eye to rupture, which left her virtually blind because her right eye had been blinded from a childhood incident. Plaintiff claimed that the hospital was negligent in having a defective toilet and for leaving her unattended in a dangerous position. The hospital was made aware of the plaintiff's blind right eye and a recent history for falling upon her admission to the hospital, making her a high-risk-for-fall patient.

Defendants asserted that there was no evidence that plaintiff fell from the bed as the position she was found in indicated that she got successfully out of bed and then fell on her own accord.

Plaintiff sought damages to cover nursing home expenses, medical expenses, pain and anguish, disfigurement and impairment, both past and future. Defendants argued that the nursing home would have been necessary for her care regardless of the accident and that plaintiff had failed to mitigate her damages as a hard contact lens or surgical implantation of an intra-ocular lens would increase her ability to see substantially.

Outcome: Plaintiff's Verdict - Jury found for plaintiff and awarded $300,000.00 for past pain and anguish, $50,000.00 for future pain and anguish, $100,000.00 for past impairment, $25,300.25 for past medical expenses, and $194,877.45 for future medical expenses. There was no award for disfigurement or future physical impairment. The total award was $670,177.00.

Plaintiff's Experts: Unknown

Defendant's Experts: Unknown

Comments: Plaintiff declined pre-trial offer of $50,000.00. Reported by C.H.

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