South Florida Family Wins $28.5 Million Medical Malpractice Case

William E. Johnson
Sun Sentinel
June 11, 2013

A Lauderdale Lakes resident and his children were recently awarded a jury verdict of $28.5 million after a procedure left the resident in a vegetative state. The 37 year old man, Dale Whyte, was seen in the Atlantic Surgical Center in Pompano Beach for a controversial procedure, known as manipulation under anesthesia in 2008. While attempting the procedure, Whyte suffered from cardiac arrest and never woke up. Whyte is currently hospitalized in Georgia.

Manipulation under anesthesia is a treatment where body joints are manipulated for chronic pain conditions. The procedure is performed by orthopedic surgeons and some chiropractors who have been specially trained. According to a 2003 study cervical manipulation under anesthesia can result in damage to the arteries that result in severe and lifelong brain injury. For these reasons some medical experts believe that the practice of cervical manipulation is unacceptably risky.

In Whyte’s case the jury found that the doctors who performed the procedure acted negligently in performing cervical manipulation during the procedure. The jury’s award included $23.57 million to cover Whyte’s medical expenses, and an additional $5 million for pain and suffering. Whyte’s 6 and 9 year old daughters were also given $5 million for the loss of their father’s companionship. 

Additionally, the jury found that the doctors were liable under the clear and convincing standard, which is a higher standard to prove than the typical preponderance of the evidence standard. When doctors in Florida lose 3 malpractice cases under the clear and convincing evidence standard their licenses to practice medicine are revoked.

This case demonstrates the devastation that medical malpractice can have in the lives of patients. However, victims of malpractice have a right to reimbursement and compensation for the harm they suffer. To learn more contact an experienced West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorney by calling the Law Offices of William E. Johnson, P.A.  Our West Palm Beach malpractice lawyers can help get you the justice and compensation you deserve. If you or your loved one has suffered from malpractice call 561-832-4848 to schedule a free consultation today. 

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