Articles Posted in Hawaii

jail 4A  Hawaii appellate court affirmed a malpractice verdict in favor of a man who suffered an infection on his scrotum that lead to castration.

The outcome is awful.  What makes the verdict surprising is that the plaintiff was a prisoner at the time of the malpractice, serving time for a drug offense.

Besides the prisoner hurdle, the plaintiff also had to get around the doctor’s immunity argument that as a government employee, he should be immune from liability.

A settlement has been reached in the deaths of a young California attorney and her cousin, after the two women fell to their death while hiking in Hawaii.

The details are tragic. A 32 year old attorney and her 25 year old cousin were hiking in a state park, in December 2006. The two encountered a sign warning them not to proceed further along their trail, as it forked to the left. As such, they took the path to the right, which looked to be part of the trail but was not, and instead lead to a cliff, covered in vegetation, with a 300-foot drop. Last year, a Hawaiian judge found the state was liable for the deaths of the two women, because the sign created a hazard that essentially led them to their fatal fall.

The $15.4 million settlement is believed to be the highest personal injury settlement in state history. Here’s the kicker though. Of that figure, $425,000 is awarded to the family of the cousin, with the remaining $15 million being awarded to the attorney’s family. Wow, big difference. I get the whole “future earning potential” and all. And she did work for one of the nation’s biggest firms. Still. That’s a hard gap to swallow.

The Hawaii House of Represenatives approved a bill to put one of the most restrictive medical malpractice cap on noneconomic awards in medical malpractice lawsuits against some types of doctors.

Hawaii House Bill limits non-economic damages to $250,000 in malpractice lawsuits against doctors who practice in areas such as emergency medicine, neurological surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedic surgery and general surgery. Adding insult it injury, the bill also caps at $3 million the award for gross negligence.

Incredibly, all of this is necessary even with Hawaii’s cap on of $375,000 the award for pain and suffering. One goal of all of is this is dissuade Hawaii medical malpractice lawyers from taking on malpractice cases because the economics do not support bring a claim even with merit.

An Oahu Circuit Court awarded a 45-year-old rancher $6 million this week in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a Wahiawa physician.

Plaintiff went to see his doctor when testing revealed signs of kidney disease. For two years, the defendant doctor treated the Plaintiff for high blood pressure, ignoring test results indicating kidney disease, according to Plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit. By the time the Plaintiff was referred to a specialist, his kidneys were already dead. Plaintiff’s expert testified to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that had the Plaintiff been referred to a kidney specialist at the appropriate time, the damages likely would have been different.

It is good for medical malpractice lawyers to keep track of successful verdicts because it underscores what fact patterns can make successful medical malpractice lawsuits.