California Woman Given $22 Million Following Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

California Woman Given $22 Million Following Medical Malpractice LawsuitThe Palo Alto Medical Foundation has been ordered to pay $22 million in a medical malpractice verdict regarding a lawsuit in which a Menlo Park, California woman lost the use of her arms and legs after suffering a stroke during a surgery that turned out to be unnecessary, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

According to the news source, physicians working at the medical foundation ordered an angiogram on October 20, 2006, in order to gather information about an abnormal vein that was suspected to be in the brain of Robyn Frankel. Frankel’s medical malpractice lawyer stated she was initially admitted into the medical center for treatment of migraines. The procedure was performed at Stanford Hospital and Clinics, as the medical foundation stated it did not have the necessary facilities.

According to the Menlo Park Almanac, the procedure involved injecting dye into the suspect vein to allow doctors to inspect what could be causing Frankel’s intense headaches. However, the lawsuit alleges Frankel was not informed of the procedure’s invasive nature nor the risks associated with it. In the trial, the jury later sided with Frankel in saying she had not been given informed consent.

“She had a reaction to the procedure and stroked out,” her attorney stated. “Nobody talked to her about why she is having it or the risks.”

In the trial, expert witnesses testified that the cerebral angiogram was indeed not medically necessary, and provided no benefits for the doctors to better assess her headaches. Also, the experts said, there was nothing that could be seen through the procedure that was not already visible in the first non-invasive tests that were given.

The Mercury News reports that when the dye from the angiogram was injected into the vein, Frankel allegedly suffered a vasospasm, which caused her to fall into a coma. Two weeks later, Frankel awoke from the coma without the use of her arms and legs.

The trial ended after three days of deliberation when a Santa Clara County Superior Court jury concluded that the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s “negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm to Robyn Frankel.”

Frankel, who lives in Menlo Park, has been confined to a wheelchair and requires 24-hour care, according to the Mercury News. She has two children aged 10 and 16.

Frankel’s attorney stated that the $22 million sum was the largest verdict ever in the county.

“This will provide her with just enough money to take care of her for the rest of her life,” he said.