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Forced to pay more than attention

When a person prevails in a medical malpractice lawsuit, there are a number of emotions that they can experience, including relief that justice was done and that they will receive compensation for things such as past and future medical bills. Sometimes a person who prevails feel vindications, knowing they have proven to a court that they were harmed by a negligent Covington doctor or Kentucky hospital.

In other cases, however, there is another feeling that passes over the person: satisfaction that they have been noticed by indifferent doctors and hospital administrators. A tragedy caused by negligence overwhelmed the plaintiff's life and it seemed that those responsible did not care and did not even notice.

That's the situation that recently played out in a medical malpractice case in which the plaintiff prevailed and the jury awarded her $3.7 million.

That's a lot of money, but the woman awarded the amount by an Illinois jury would gladly give it back to have her husband of 39 years returned to her. "This was never about the money. Nobody cared for her husband in his time of need,” her medical malpractice attorney said. “Nobody came to say they were sorry. Nobody said they did anything wrong."

The woman's husband died in late December of 2009, just a month after retiring from his highway worker job. A blue-collar guy just settling into a slower life of retirement, he had gone to a doctor to have a laser procedure done on his enlarged prostate. About a month after the procedure, he found blood in his urine and went to an ER.

He died two days later while being prepped for surgery, a recent news article recounted. A blood clot had formed in his leg, broken off and traveled to his lung, causing a massive pulmonary embolism that killed him.

Doctors and nurses could have -- and should have -- prevented the death by simply having the man walk up and down the hospital hallway or by outfitting him with anti-thrombosis support stockings. Simple. But in this case, it wasn't done and a man's life ended prematurely.

And no one bothered to even tell his widow that they were sorry. But she has made them notice her and made them sorry for the negligence.

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