A Superior Court jury in Washington State awarded $40.1 million to a man whose heart was damaged so badly by a malfunctioning machine during an operation that he had to undergo a heart transplant. The 54-year-old plaintiff also suffers other problems as a result of the injury and anti-rejection drugs he must take. The plaintiff had checked into a hospital in October 2004 for cardiac bypass surgery when a monitor manufactured by Edwards Lifesciences Corp. of Irvine, California, malfunctioned, causing a catheter to overheat and burn his heart. The award last month included $8.35 million in punitive damages.
Edwards Life Sciences also had blamed Providence Everett Medical Center, saying it used a damaged cable. Interestingly, the hospital said Edwards failed to disclose a problem with the monitor. The jury ordered Edwards to pay 99.99% of the damages to the plaintiff and his family, leaving the hospital responsible for .01%. Edwards was also ordered to pay the hospital $310,000 in damages.
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
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