Air Force Spouse Receives $7.5 Million From Government in Medical Malpractice Case

These punitive damages were awarded to the plaintiffs on top of the $38.5 million that was given previously for health problems that were allegedly incurred along with a loss of lifetime earnings.The U.S. government has paid an Air Force spouse $7.5 million following a decision that was made in a federal appeals court, according to Stars and Stripes.

Negligence on the part of the Air Force medical staff was the stated reason for the awarding of the money by the appeals court, as Deborah Rutledge was left severely injured following the alleged poor care that was received, the news source reported.

The wife of retired Master Sgt. Thomas Rutledge had been treated for minor injuries relating to numbness in her groin, legs and feet at the Air Force's Andersen family clinic in Guam. Medical staff at the hospital had allegedly failed to do basic medical examinations when treating Deborah, and she was misdiagnosed following the treatment, reported the Stars and Stripes.

"The Rutledges are relieved that this long drawn out process is finally over and that they ultimately received justice from the judicial process," noted her attorney. "The District Court’s award was eminently fair under all the circumstances presented, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the reasonableness of the award."

Deborah Rutledge still suffers due to nerve damage that was caused by the untreated herniated disc, according to the news source.

Another wife of a military man was awarded a significant sum from the government due to poor medical treatment, as Staff Sgt. Adam Cloer received $2.15 million on behalf of his wife, The Associated Press reported.

A Nashville District Court awarded the money to Cloer after approving the settlement. Melodee Cloer passed away last year after losing her fight with rectal cancer, according to the news source.

The lawsuit claimed that the medical staff at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital (BACH) had failed to screen her for rectal cancer, despite persistent symptoms of the disease that had been exhibited, reported the AP.

Melodee Cloer had first gone to seek treatment following complaints of pain, blood in her stool and constipation. The lawsuit stated that she had gone to the hospital on multiple occasions but she had only been diagnosed with hemorrhoids and nothing further, the news outlet reported.

Her husband filed a complaint following Melodee's death in 2010, as he cited negligence in diagnosing and treating her cancer, which resulted in her death, the AP reported.

"Had BACH healthcare providers diagnosed and treated Ms. Cloer's cancer at any time from the start of her rectal cancer symptoms in early 2006 through the end of 2006, then more likely than not, Ms. Cloer's cancer would have been curable; her multiple and painful surgeries requiring removal of some of her organs would have been avoided; and she would be alive today," Cloer's medical malpractice attorney said in the complaint.

Another million dollar award was granted in punitive damages, as a group of sixteen plaintiffs were awarded $320 million in a Herculaneum, Missouri lead poisoning case, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

These punitive damages were awarded to the plaintiffs on top of the $38.5 million that was given previously for health problems that were allegedly incurred along with a loss of lifetime earnings, the news source reported.

The high dollar amount of the settlement was reportedly awarded to punish and deter the company that had run the smelter in which the lead poisoning had occurred between 1986 and 1994. This was the first case against the plant that had made it to trial, as the owners and holding companies that were involved had been sued previously, reported the news outlet.