California Woman Gets $12 Million Malpractice Award After Sustaining Brain Damage From Gunshot Wound


Posted on 16th February 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Our reality sometimes runs squarely into irreconcilable medical facts. Our reality is that patients get lousy service in Emergency Rooms. Sometimes there is no margin for error. This story is one of those cases. One simply cannot wait your turn when you have an intracranial pressure event going on inside the brain. Any hospital that does not find a way to prioritize head injury in the Emergency Room deserves to pay the consequences.

A Southern California woman, now in vegetative state after being waiting hours in a hospital emergency room to have an air-rifle bullet removed from her brain, has been awarded $12 million by a jury, according to The Washington Post.

The verdict in Pomona Superior Court was against Greater El Monte Community Hospital, which was found to be negligent in its treatment of Jessica Ramirez, 22. The malpractice suit was filed on behalf of Ramirez by her mother, Ofelia Reynaga.

While at a family member’s house, Ramirez was shot in the head with an air gun in September 2007. She walked into the emergency room of the greater El Monte hospital, but was left waiting for five hours.

Finally, she was taken by helicopter to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, Calif., and underwent surgery.

But the pressure and bleeding that Ramirez sustained in the shooting caused permanent damage to her brain. She is now minimally conscious and has to have round-the-clock care.

The suit had named the hospital’s parent, AHMC Healthcare. The hospital plans to appeal the verdict.

“Despite the verdict, we strongly believe the evidence presented in this case shows that our emergency room staff provided compassionate, timely and clinically appropriate care to a patient who had suffered a catastrophic head injury,” Greater El Monte Community Hospital said in a statement.

The hospital’s insurance company had rejected a settlement that was much less than the jury verdict, according to The Post.