An Arkansas jury awarded a $20 million judgment to the family of a 15-year-old boy whose doctor operated on the wrong side of his brain. The jury found that Arkansas Children’s Hospital was negligent for the surgery.
“It is so apparent there’s negligence that it boggles the mind we had to go through this,” family attorney Grant Davis of DBJ said in his closing argument.
During an operation to remove faulty brain tissue believed to be the source of a seizure disorder, Dr. Badih Adada, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at the hospital, removed matter from the wrong side of Cody Metheny’s brain before then performing the procedure on the correct side. As a result of the mistake, Cody has experienced psychotic delusions, continuing seizures, and deteriorating intelligence. “The surgery sucked the life out of him,” Davis said. “He has just become a different person.”
The hospital could not be found liable under Arkansas law if the jury determined the surgeon was solely responsible for the error. Despite continuing to employ him for three years after the botched operation, the hospital was “on a kick of blaming Dr. Adada,” Davis said. The family countered that hospital nurses were not adequately prepared and administrators did not thoroughly investigate the surgical errors and promptly disclose them to the family, who were not informed of the mistake for months.
Davis told the jury that Cody’s mind will continue to deteriorate as a result of the hospital’s negligence. The jury’s award compensates him for his pain and suffering, future earnings, and the costs of lifetime treatment, estimated as another 55 years.
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