Earlier this month, an appellate court in Idaho issued a written opinion affirming a jury’s verdict in favor of a man who lost his wife to a serious infection after undergoing a procedure at the defendant’s cosmetic clinic. In the case, Ballard v. Kerr, the court dismissed the defendant’s approximately 20 claims of error and affirmed the jury’s verdict below. However, the appellate court did find that the award of nearly $150,000 in attorneys’ fees was not appropriate, and it reversed the lower court on that issue alone.
Ms. Ballard underwent an elective liposuction procedure whereby the doctor was to implant the removed fat from her stomach into her buttocks. During the procedure, as is common, the doctor used both disposable and reusable medical equipment. The procedure seemed to go as planned, and Ms. Ballard returned home later that day.
However, within a few days, Ms. Ballard called the doctor’s office to move her follow-up visit forward due to immense pain she was experiencing in her buttocks. The doctor inspected the area but did not see any signs of infection. Out of an abundance of caution, he prescribed her antibiotics.
Just a few days later, Ms. Ballard was taken to the emergency room by ambulance. She was again complaining of incredible pain in her buttocks and also of difficulty breathing. The hospital staff noticed signs that her respiratory and renal systems were failing and placed her on life support. Sadly, she passed away a short time later.
A medical examiner conducted an autopsy and noted that there was some kind of foreign bacteria in her buttocks. It was his opinion that there was bacteria on the medical equipment used to inject the fat into Ms. Ballard’s buttocks, and this caused her to experience toxic shock syndrome.
Mr. Ballard then filed a medical malpractice case against the doctor, alleging that the doctor was negligent in how he sterilized the reusable medical equipment used in his wife’s procedure. After a trial, the jury agreed, awarding him about $3.75 million in economic and non-economic damages, as well as roughly $150,000 in attorneys’ fees. The defendant appealed the verdict on several evidentiary bases, as well as arguing that the jury’s verdict was against the weight of the evidence. However, he was unsuccessful and will be required to compensate Mr. Ballard the full amount of the jury’s verdict, less the attorneys’ fees, which the appellate court did determine were not appropriate.
Have You Been a Victim of Negligent Medical Care?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of what you believe was medical malpractice, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at the Indiana law firm of Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson are well regarded for the dedication they have to their practice, as well as to their clients. They have decades of experience bringing all kinds of personal injury cases, including medical malpractice cases. Call 888-532-7766 to set up a free consultation with an attorney today.
Statutes of Limitations in Indiana Medical Malpractice Cases, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, August 4, 2016
Product Liability Lawsuit Dismissed Based on “Optional Equipment Doctrine”, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, August 18, 2016