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A jury awards $68 million to a dead Fresno heart patient's family

A Fresno County jury returned a verdict on March 20 in a medical malpractice case against an area heart surgeon. The jury had awarded the man's family $55.6 million in punitive damages the previous day. They awarded an additional $12.39 million in damages. The total in damages awarded has now reached $68 million.

According to the initial filing in the case, the 57-year-old doctor had been performing open heart surgery on the plaintiff in April 2012 when he, for some unknown reason, left the operating room. He left the man's chest open, and the patient bled out. The man later went into a permanent comatose state as a result. He later died. His surviving heirs will receive the settlement on the decedent's behalf.

The heart surgeon wasn't on hand for most of the weeks-long trial nor when the jury's verdict came down. His attorney reported that he was visiting family in his native Pakistan on the day that the jury's award was announced.

Legal experts note that the verdict in this case ranks high up on the list as one of the largest settlements ever awarded in Fresno Superior Court. The only one that was even in the same realm was a case settled in 2011. In that case, $46 million was ordered to be paid to a group of more than 1,200 Armenian-Americans who's been victimized as part of a Ponzi scheme.

If you've lost a loved one at the hands of a negligent physician, then an Irvine personal injury attorney can advise you of your right to file a lawsuit in your case.

Source: The Fresno Bee, "Judgment against doctor who left man in coma grows to $68 million with punitive damages," Pablo Lopez, March 20, 2018

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