Multimillion Jury Award Hinges on the Definition of Nurses Aides Versus Health Care Providers

When you have a family member in long-term care, the individual deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. The care should be just as if you would be looking after your loved one. Shockingly, the reality is often entirely different, as this reported case shows.

This case really points out the denigration of plaintiffs claims with the application of medical malpractice caps. What happened in this instance is that the mother of Mr. Doe filed a lawsuit stating that the nursing home where she was staying killed her by not giving her enough food and water for a period of three weeks. How horrendous is that?

In addition to this fact, the mother also suffered from dementia. Mr. Doe’s mom was 87 years old and met her death because the aides did not keep her properly hydrated. You do not need a medical license to provide a person with basic needs such as water.

When this case got to trial, the jury was rightfully horrified and handed down a $91.5 million award, which the nursing home is planning to appeal on the grounds that the amount may be subject to the state medical malpractice cap of $500,000. In other words, the jury award of $91.5 million for an egregious case of negligence, may be reduced to $500,000 in non-economic damages. Does this seem fair, given the facts of the case? Many would say no quite emphatically. It is obvious the jury thought it did not take an advanced degree to make sure someone got enough water on a daily basis either.

The man’s lawyers are aiming to keep the jury award as is by pointing out that the nurses aides at the nursing home are not considered to be health care providers as defined in the medical malpractice cap definition. Certainly this is an issue for the court to decide on, and if successful, this may open another avenue for medical malpractice cases to be treated with the respect and financial compensation that they deserve.

Medical malpractice cases are often very involved and complex, and certainly need the qualified assistance of an Atlanta personal injury lawyer. If you think you are the victim of medical malpractice, or your senior relative is a victim, get in touch with an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer and find out what you can do.

Robert Webb is an Atlanta personal injury lawyer with Webb & D’Orazio, a law firm specializing in Atlanta personal injury, malpractice, criminal defense, and business law. Learn more at Webbdorazio.com.

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