Texas Doctor Ordered to Pay $7.5M to Man Who Lost Limbs

February 18, 2009

A Bedford, Texas, infectious-disease specialist has been ordered to pay $7.5 million to a former maintenance man who lost his arms and legs to an MRSA infection.

Judge Jim Jordan ordered Dr. Meenakshi S. Prabhakar to pay David Fitzgerald after a Dallas County jury found in Fitzgerald’s favor in his medical malpractice lawsuit. Prabhakar treated Fitzgerald in 2003 when he developed an infection following surgery at RHD Medical Center in Farmers Branch.

The jury ruled Fitzgerald should get $17.5 million, but because of caps on medical malpractice cases he cannot collect about $10 million the jury awarded for pain, mental anguish and physical impairment.

Linda Turley, Fitzgerald’s attorney, called the caps a “tragic unfairness” to Fitzgerald, who “can’t bathe by himself, can’t get out of the house by himself and will need assistance for the rest of his life,” The Dallas Morning News reported in its online edition.

Fitzgerald, 53, now lives with his brother in East Texas.

William H. Chamblee, Prabhakar’s attorney, said Fitzgerald was treated with eight antibiotics but not the one that treats MRSA, which is a type of hospital-acquired infection that can be deadly if not treated quickly.

Chamblee said Prabhakar probably will appeal the jury’s decision.

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