Pennsylvania Jury Awards $23M to Amputee

September 19, 2011

An eastern Pennsylvania jury has awarded more than $23 million to a woman who lost portions of both legs to infection almost three years ago.

Attorneys for the 55-year-old Lehighton woman argued that a home care nurse failed to report a bacterial infection in the feeding catheter of the patient, who was being treated for complications from Crohn’s disease, and the delay resulted in a near-fatal bloodstream infection in October 2008.

A Lehigh County jury late Friday found the nurse and St. Luke’s Miners Memorial Home Care liable, awarding $23.1 million for medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering.

Attorney Matthew Casey said the plaintiff hoped that the verdict would result in St Luke’s “redoubling its efforts” to help prevent such infections during home care.

St. Luke’s spokesman Ken Szydlow expressed sympathy for the woman but called the jury award “excessive,” telling The (Easton) Express Times that the nurse “provided appropriate care and practiced within applicable standards of care.” He did not say whether an appeal was planned.

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