In Orosco v. MCSHCD, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s $4.25M verdict for permanent injuries a patient suffered when a resident and nurse decided to not tell anyone they lost a two-foot metal guide wire. The wire was lost in the patient, causing the patient to lose his right femoral artery that supplied blood to his leg. The patient also suffered femoral nerve damage and chronic pain. The hospital initially denied doing anything wrong. The patient had to file a lawsuit. During litigation the hospital eventually had to admit negligence. Doing so, the hospital still denied their negligence caused any significant harm. The jury and the Court of Appeals did not agree. It took a jury and the court system to hold the hospital accountable. In a Memorandum Decision, the Court of Appeals stated: “The jury decides the appropriate amount of damages….we are not shocked by the amount of the verdict, nor is the verdict an exaggerated measurement of damages.”
The Seventh Amendment to our United States Constitution preserves the right of every person to have a trial by jury to hold wrongdoers accountable. Our juries are the conscience of our community. The right to a jury trial is especially important in holding hospitals that are often large profit seeking corporations accountable for the harms caused by negligence within their walls. Multiple peer reviewed studies have recently found that hundreds of thousands of people are seriously injured or killed due to negligence in hospitals every year. Because it is one patient at a time, and the negligence is often hidden, public awareness is lacking. Imagine, though, the uproar if hundreds of thousands of people were dying in plane crashes every year. We are doing everything we can to bring awareness to this epidemic and try to make hospitals safer. One significant part of our efforts is processing one case at time to help bring awareness and make up for the harm our clients have wrongfully suffered.