Amputee Awarded $3.1 Million in Malpractice Case

A former Illinois police lieutenant was awarded $3.15 million in his case against the doctor who negligently amputated his leg. The incident occurred at Rockford Memorial Hospital in 2010, when the victim was admitted for dizziness and suspected stomach bleeding. Medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm further explain this case.

The former Loves Park lieutenant, Donald Johnson, was 65 years old when he was admitted to the hospital. He had a history of vascular disease in his lower extremities, and showed signs of injury on his lower left leg. Dr. Mark Zarnke was the physicians on his case, who applied a special gauze bandage known as the Unna Boot to Johnson’s leg for five days.

Previous testing showed that Johnson had just 41% blood flow to the leg, and the Unna Boot is designed to decrease the blood flow to the lower leg. After the boot was removed five days later, Johnson’s leg showed signs of tissue death requiring amputation below the knee.

Dr. Zarnke is a general surgeon, however he failed to offer any surgical options to restore the blood flow to the victims leg and never consulted a vascular surgeon to treat him. Johnson and his family consequently filed a medical negligence claim against Zarnke and his employer, Surgical Associates of Northern Illinois.

In his suit, Johnson states that he should not have been given the Unna Boot because the blood flow to his leg was already decreasing. The trial lasted two weeks and the jury took less than five hours to make their decision. The jury awarded Johnson $3.157 million for current and future medical bills, pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement, and other damages.

Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice

The largest medical malpractice in Winnebago County was $10.23 million, awarded in 1996 to a woman who suffered injuries at the same hospital as Johnson. The victim in that case was admitted to Rockford Memorial Hospital while pregnant, and was discharged despite leaking amniotic fluid (the liquid surrounding the fetus).

The day after leaving the hospital, the woman delivered a daughter with brain damage and cerebral palsy. She filed suit against the hospital, claiming her daughter’s condition was caused by inadequate medical care before birth.

Unfortunately, birth injuries like cerebral or erb’s palsy are quite often the result of medical negligence or malpractice. Gynecologists and obstetricians have among the highest malpractice premiums of all types of specialists (premiums refer to a function of the expected cost to insure a doctor against malpractice lawsuits). Premiums are highest for doctors with the highest risks of having suits filed against them.

A recent lawsuit in South Dakota illustrates how devastating ob/gyn malpractice can be to a family. The woman, Jennifer Eastman, went to the hospital in January 2013 to have the child she miscarried removed from her uterus. After the surgery, Eastman went into septic shock from internal bleeding.

Eastman later learned that the doctor who performed the surgery to remove the fetus perforated her uterus. She had to undergo emergency surgery to remove her uterus – she lost her child and her ability to have future children in the same day, because of one doctor’s negligence.

Our team of medical malpractice attorneys has been working on cases like this for over 30 years. We have a large network or legal and medical professionals that allow us to represent injured victims nationwide. Contact us today for a free case review and consultation.

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