Brain-injured man's family gets $1.25M

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The Ohio State University is slated to pay a large settlement of about $1.25 million to the family of a man who suffered severe brain damage after a procedure at the Wexner Medical Center. The settlement, part of a medical malpractice suit, centered around the case of a man who had sustained brain damage after undergoing surgery for testicular cancer in 2010. The man and his family hail from Cleveland.

Family members say the man was injured by a hemorrhage and cardiac failure, both of which occurred during the operation. The incident, which happened in April 2010, left the man in a persistent vegetative state, which means that he is unable to communicate with the world and requires long-term intensive care. Although patients assume such risks when they enter into a surgical environment, the hospital was accused of failing to provide a proper standard of care.

The medical center has agreed to pay the man’s mother a lump sum of $865,000 to compensate for the continued medical bills. An additional $385,000 has been placed into a trust that will periodically pay the man’s family members.

Attorneys for both parties say they think the settlement was fair. Hospital officials say the settlement was not the largest in the medical center’s history, but they declined to comment further on the case.

The money will likely not only be used to cover the man’s medical expenses, but also will make up for his lost wages and other family contributions. Caring for an individual who is in a persistent vegetative state is indeed an expensive undertaking. Such patients traditionally require specialized care in rehabilitation centers, perhaps with ventilators and other high-cost medical equipment. Such enormous medical bills could easily overwhelm the average American, with costs reaching into the millions of dollars, depending on the nature of the injury or illness.

The man ostensibly remains in a long-term care situation, though it is not clear the exact nature of medical treatment he is receiving.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “OSU hospital pays $1.25 million settlement,” Ben Sutherly, Aug. 22, 2012