It Should Never Have Happened
Those seeking to limit accountability in the civil justice system should meet Merlyna Adams.
A school principal from La Place, Louisiana, Merlyna found herself in severe pain affecting her right side in August 2007. Her primary care doctor diagnosed a 10mm kidney stone.
Over the next few days, Merlyna was transferred to four different hospitals, all the while getting sicker. At the last hospital she was held in ICU for nearly three weeks before a condition known as sepsis overwhelmed Merlyna’s body. The massive infection attacked and caused congestive heart failure, renal failure and pulmonary failure.
Incredibly, Merlyna survived but the restricted blood flow led to the amputation of both her legs below the knee. Both her hands, too.
What should have been a routine procedure left Merlyna a quadruple amputee. It never should have happened.
Preventable medical errors kill more than 98,000 people every year and hundreds of thousands more are injured. The civil justice system provides patients like Merlyna and their families an avenue to seek accountability. It also serves as a powerful incentive for health care providers to improve patient care.
Unfortunately, many states limit justice with one-size-fits-all caps on damages that injured patients can seek. These arbitrary laws shield health care providers that harm or kill patients from full accountability, and do nothing to protect those who must live with the tragic results. You can look at the laws in your own state by clicking here.
Should politicians choose in advance how much you were hurt? Isn’t that for judges and juries who know the facts of each case to decide?
Merlyna struggles now with everyday tasks. Brushing her teeth, taking a bath, eating or using the restroom often requires help from others. Listen to her story below.
Improved patient safety is the key to fighting the preventable medical errors epidemic in this country. Limiting the rights of patients like Merlyna will only allow preventable medical errors to continue and leave others at risk for more injuries.