It has been nine years since the accident that changed Daniel R. Nelson's life forever.
Investigators say Mr. Nelson was unable to avoid striking the car and that the impact ejected him and his passenger, wife, Jeanne Nelson, from the bike.
Paramedics responded to the scene and transported Mrs. Nelson to a hospital in the Burlington area, while Mr. Nelson was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, where he stayed for more than a year.
On October 18, Mr. Nelson was in a rehab ward with his arms and legs immobilized and jaw wired shut, due to a tracheotomy. When Mr. Nelson became still, a sitter notified Dr. Lorraine C. Norvich-Welter, who eventually called a "code 4" emergency.
Soon thereafter, Mr. Nelson fell in to a seven-week coma, listed as a "persistent vegetative state," and never fully regained speech and memory functions. In April 29, a jury found that Dr. Novich-Welter was nelgligent in the medical care she provided. Specifically, she waited too long to announce the "code 4."
Mr. Nelson was awarded $994,716 for medical costs and another $1 million for disability and pain and suffering, past and present. Mrs. Nelson, meanwhile, was awarded $50,000 for loss of consortium and $65,000 to Miles, Mr. Nelson's son, for lack of companionship and society.
The now 49-year-old Mr. Nelson was once able to walk short distances, but is now papalegic. During the three-week trial, an attorney for Dr. Novich-Welter argued the she had exercised the highest standard of care and committed no wrongdoing.
According to Diedrich Healthcare, $3.6 billion is paid out in medical malpractice cases each year. An estimated 19 percent of medical malpractice claims involve significant permanent injury.
Serious auto accidents leave their victims in a vulnerable state. Often disoriented and in shock, they reqire medical attention before piecing together the events that led to the crash. Unable to work, they might also be facing lost wages.
Patients should not have to think twice about the healthcare they receive. Everyone has a reasonable assumption that a healthcare professional will help, or at least not hurt them.
When medical malpractice occurs, legal action is necessary, not only to protect the victim, but to protect potential future victims.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by the care of a doctor or other health care professional, contact an Indiana medical malpractice attorney at Keller & Keller.