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King County jury awards $14 million in medical malpractice case

A jury in King County, Washington, returned a verdict recently that awarded a woman $14 million in her medical malpractice lawsuit.

The woman, from West Seattle, had sued Seattle Children's Hospital and Children's University Medical Group. Her lawsuit was filed on the grounds that doctors' actions led to a stroke when she was just a child. As a result, she cannot care for herself.

She is now 22, and The Seattle Times told her story.

In 2007, doctors performed a heart transplant. Six years later, they found that a stent in her heart had broken. In early 2014, she underwent another surgery, and as the operation was ongoing, they realized they didn't have an adequate supply of stents on hand.

As a result, they kept her on the operating table until they could try to secure a stent from another hospital. Eventually, they went ahead with the procedure with a different stent, but it took four hours. That increased the chance the girl could suffer a stroke.

After the surgery, despite showing symptoms of having had a stroke, she wasn't tested for four hours. By that point, it was too late for doctors to help her.

In its verdict, the jury ruled the procedure caused the stroke and doctors didn't identify the stroke and treat her promptly. They found doctors liable for the woman's injuries but ruled that the nurses who cared for her were not.

The jury's award included $10.95 million for her future losses and an additional $3 million for general damages.

The young woman will require full-time medical care. The stroke left her with speech, mobility and memory problems, along with cognitive function impairments.

This is a case of a woman whose life was tragically altered by the negligence of the people her family entrusted to care for her. It is satisfying to know that her family will have the funds necessary for her care through their medical malpractice claim.

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