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Arizona appeals court upholds $7.2 million med-mal verdict

An Arizona woman received good news this month when the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision to award the woman more than $7.2 million for injuries suffered because of a surgical error. Her medical malpractice case was against Payson Healthcare Management who she claims failed to diagnose an infection that later resulted in further surgery and a chronic pain condition. Although Payson Healthcare Management appealed the case, the appeals court found no error in judgment and therefore affirmed the lower court's decision.

For those of our Phoenix readers who may not have heard about the case, it began back in April 2008 when the woman slipped on a wet floor and injured her knee. After her first surgery, she says she was experiencing pain and went to another doctor who was employed by Payson Healthcare Management. After undergoing another surgery, her knee swelled and appeared red as if it had an infection. Although no tests were conducted to determine the type of infection, she was prescribed several antibiotics over the course of a month.

But the antibiotics didn't work and it wasn't until October 2008 that the doctor from Payson Healthcare Management finally tested the fluid in her knee. It came back as an antibiotic-resistant strain of Staphylococcus. Despite getting knee replacement surgery, the woman still experiences pain in her knee and has since been diagnosed with a chronic pain condition caused by nerve damage. Ultimately, the hospital's failure to diagnose the infection resulted in claims of negligence in the lawsuit.

Although the successful verdict in favor of the victim cannot turn back the clock and amend what has happened, it does at least hold the hospital accountable for its negligence. And with most cases such as this, victims simply want a sense of justice, which is something this case likely provided the woman with.

Source: The Arizona Court of Appeals, "SANDRETTO v. PAYSON HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT, INC.," Mar. 11, 2014

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