The University of Toledo Medical Center has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle a medical malpractice claim regarding the accidental disposal of a healthy kidney, which was meant for the donor’s sister.
Sarah Fudacz needed the kidney and her brother, Paul Fudacz, Jr., was the donor. Sarah, Paul Jr., and their parents, Paul Sr. and Ellen Fudacz, will collectively receive the $650,000, according to the terms of a settlement recently approved by the Ohio Court of Claims.
Ms. Fudacz was 24-years-old at the time of the 2012 kidney transplant surgery. She was supposed to have been given a kidney taken from her younger brother that was considered a perfect match. However, after the kidney was removed, a hospital nurse mistakenly threw it away.
Her brother, Paul Jr., sought damages he suffered and will continue to suffer for having to undergo a painful and risky surgery, and for having to live the rest of his life with only one kidney, all in vain. Ms. Fudacz did receive another kidney, however, it is not a perfect match and therefore will not last as long as her brother’s kidney would have. During the months between the botched transplant surgery and her successful transplant, Ms. Fudacz endured additional dialysis, four surgeries related to dialysis, and the uncertainty of whether she would find a suitable kidney.
The amount of the settlement was effectively limited by state law because the incident occurred at a public facility. In lawsuits against a public institution, Ohio law limits the amount of noneconomic damages (such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress) that may be recovered to $250,000 per person. There is no limit on awards for economic damages such as lost wages and medical bills in such cases. An Ohio law regarding medical malpractice claims in general (i.e., against a private hospital) limits noneconomic claims to $500,000 per plaintiff and also limits a hospital’s total liability for noneconomic damages to $1 million.
More than half of U.S. states have passed some form of a law limiting the amount of money a medical malpractice plaintiff can receive after a successful lawsuit. In most states, the cap limits only noneconomic damages, meaning pain and suffering. But, there are also states that limit all types of damages that might be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you or a loved one suffered damages from medical malpractice, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible because the time period for bringing medical malpractice lawsuits (statute of limitations) varies from state to state. Some states require the plaintiff to submit claims to a review board or obtaining an affidavit from a medical expert prior to prosecuting the suit. Contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) for information.