Virginia Medical Malpractice Verdicts and Settlements

This is a sampling of jury verdicts and settlements in medical malpractice cases throughout Virginia.

malpractice verdicts We compiled this list from a variety of different sources. Keep in mind that there is no scientific methodology for the cases selected. In fact, if you are a victim or an attorney, you should keep in mind that verdicts and settlements are not necessarily reflective of the value of your claim. There are just way too many variables involved than can be spit out in these short summaries. The make or break facts of the case might have nothing to do with with the summary. So, please, take these with a grain of salt:

2018
  • October, 2018: $150,000 settlement. Elderly female decedent with diabetes and hypertension was getting in-home health care from defendant Hope-in-Home Care of Norfolk. While under home care by the defendant, the woman's blood sugar spiked and she became hypoglycemic and was rushed to the hospital. She eventually died from brain damage resulting from her prolonged, untreated hypoglycemia. Her estate brought a wrongful death suit against the defendant alleging that its nurses negligently failed to monitor the decedent's blood sugar. The case settled out of court for $150,000.
  • February, 2018: $650,000 settlement. A 6-year-old boy was taken to defendant Children's Hospital King's Daughters after being accidentally stabbed with scissors by his brother. After receiving treatment for the stab wound, the boy was discharged from the hospital. Just 6 hours after his discharge, however, he was back at the hospital with severe abdominal distention. At that point, it was determined that he was suffering from a bowel obstruction which had caused a massive internal infection. The boy died from the infection and his parents sued the hospital for failing to identify the bowel obstruction before discharging him. The case eventually settled for $650,000.
  • February 2018: $1,500,000 verdict. Adult male plaintiff went to a hospital emergency room for severe abdominal pain. A pelvic CT scan was performed but the radiologist interpreted the images as normal and the plaintiff was discharged. Just 2 days later plaintiff was back at the hospital in worse condition. This time a pelvic CT scan showed a ruptured appendicitis causing a bowel obstruction. The plaintiff sued, alleging that the radiologist misinterpreted the CT scan at his first visit and failed to timely diagnose his appendicitis. The case went to trial and a jury awarded $1.5 million in damages.
2017
  • October, 2017: $450,000 settlement. Decedent, a 78-year-old female, went to the emergency room with extreme abdominal pain, distension, and constipation. An abdominal CT scan was performed, but the ER doctor interpreted the images as normal. The ER doctor diagnosed decedent with gastroesophageal reflux disease ("GERD") and sent her home. Hours later decedent was back in the ER in worse condition and it was determined that she had a bowel obstruction and she died from acute respiratory distress. Her estate sued the ER doctor for negligently failing to identify the bowel obstruction on the earlier CT scan. The case settled for $450,000.
  • April 2017: $155,000 settlement. A radiologist was accused of negligently misreading pre-operative images of the kidney. As a result of this pre-operative mistake, the plaintiff's kidney transplant surgery failed leaving him on dialysis for over a year and causing him to suffer numerous infections. The malpractice suit against the radiologist was eventually settled for $150,000.
2016
  • December, 2016: $1,468,149 verdict. A man sought treatment for chronic running nose and cough/congestion and a chest x-ray was done. The radiologist interpreted the chest x-rays as normal. 13 months later another chest x-ray was done at which point decedent was diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer and he died soon after. His estate sued the radiologist for negligently failing to identify the tumor in the decedent's lower left lobe when the first chest x-ray was taken. The resulting delay in diagnosis caused the cancer to become inoperable.
  • November, 2016: $652,000 verdict. Plaintiff, a middle-aged female, underwent laparoscopic hysterectomy procedure in which the doctor used a thermal cautery device. During the procedure, the doctor accidentally perforates the plaintiff's small bowel with the thermal device causing bowel contents to leak into the abdomen resulting in serious septic infection. She sued the doctor for surgical negligence and a jury in Norfolk awarded $652,000 in damages.
2014
  • June, 2014: $1.5 Million Settlement. A wrongful death suit is filed after the tragic death of a 17-year-old girl. The girl and her mother presented to a MedExpress urgent care to be treated for a severe sore throat. The girl was given Dilaudid, a potent opioid, and sent home. The girl and her mother picked up a prescription and were on their way home when the girl went into respiratory and cardiac failure. She was rushed to the hospital where she died a few hours later. It was determined that she was given more than twice the recommended dose of Dilaudid. Doctors determined that she was opioid-naive and at the weight of only 105 lbs, she was even more susceptible to having a bad reaction to Dilaudid, a drug more powerful than morphine. The family agreed to a settlement of $1.5 million dollars.  Why did this case settle?  Certainly, there was concern that if it went to trial, there would be a vigorous dispute over whether her death a few hours later was a result of medical malpractice. The autopsy listed her death as being a complication from mononucleosis. The treating doctor testified that she was only trying to help the girl, who was clearly in pain. You have to remember there is a hard cap of $2 million in Virginia medical malpractice cases. 
  • February 2014, Verdict of $4,000,000 A 45 year old man presents to his family physician with complaints of the sudden onset of severe pain in his right leg. His physician performs an evaluation, but makes no immediate recommendation for surgical intervention. He is ultimately diagnosed with acute limb ischemia due to a hardened blood clot in his right lower extremity. He undergoes surgical repair of the clot, but due to the lack of blood flow to the area, he requires a partial amputation of his right foot as a result of dead muscle and tissue. The man files suit alleging his physician was negligent in failing to timely refer him to a vascular surgeon, causing his condition to deteriorate, and the irreparable injury to his foot. He claims $342,000 in medical expenses with another $45,000 in lost wages. A jury awards him $4 million which is subsequently reduced to $1.85 million, in accordance with the statutory cap on medical malpractice awards.
2013
  • June, 2013 Verdict for $7,650,000. A 47 year old, insulin-dependent diabetic, sustains a non-displaced fracture of the tibial plateau and a wrist fracture when he is struck by a car. He is discharged from the hospital within a week of his admission, after undergoing an open reduction with internal fixation for the tibial plateau fracture. Over the next two weeks he presented twice for follow ups, complaining about wounds and thigh blisters that were red and draining. He also complained about having eschar on the lateral thigh and that the area surrounding it was grayish black. The doctor never removed or changed his bandages. Days later, he presented to the emergency room, and was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis. Despite numerous debridements, he required an above-the-knee amputation, followed eventually by hip disarticulation, as well as a below-the-elbow amputation, and amputation of the small finger on his other hand. He filed suit alleging that had the infection been timely diagnosed as a superficial infection, all amputations would have been avoided. His experts later opined that had emergent debridement and appropriate antimicrobial therapy been timely done, an above-the-knee amputation would have sufficed. Defendants contended that the Plaintiff had no signs of infection at the follow-up visits, and there was no reason to investigate the differential diagnosis of infection. They maintained that their treatment was within the standard of care and nothing they did or failed to do contributed to the need for limp amputations. Plaintiff claimed $1,127,845 in medicals and sought compensatory damages for permanent disfigurement and disability. After a day and a half deliberation, a jury awarded the Plaintiff $7,650,000, which was reduced to $1,928,000 pursuant to the statutory cap.
2012
  • September 1, 2012 Settlement for $1,000,000. A plaintiff with a history of diabetes complained to her doctor about experiencing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The doctor conducted blood work and sent the plaintiff home with anti-nausea medication. After taking the medication, the plaintiff fell asleep and became unresponsive. The spouse contacted the doctor, who told him that she was sleeping off her illness. However, in fact, the plaintiff had slipped into a coma and later passed away. A subsequent review of the blood work showed dangerous levels of acidosis that required immediate hospitalization. Plaintiff's estate sued for negligence in failing to diagnose the acidosis and send the plaintiff to the hospital immediately. The doctor defendant agreed to settle for $1,000,000 at mediation.
  • August 24, 2012 Settlement for $1,475,000. The plaintiff was hospitalized for severe abdominal pain, and a defendant surgeon was instructed to perform an appendectomy. Rather than removing the appendix, the surgeon removed fat cells. The plaintiff was then sent back for a second surgery the following day for a second attempt at an appendectomy but suffered a stroke and subsequent illness. The patient later passed away. Plaintiff's estate sued the surgeon for negligence. The parties agreed to settle for $1,475,000 at mediation.
  • birth injury
  • August 1, 2012 Settlement for $1,850,000. A plaintiff was admitted to the hospital at 9:30 am due to a prolonged second stage of birth. The defendant OB/GYN did not arrive at the hospital until 1:15 pm, and the child was not delivered until 2:39 pm. Because of the prolonged second stage of birth, the infant was deprived of oxygen and was born with cerebral palsy and other incapacitating birth defects. The plaintiff sued the OB/GYN for negligence, arguing that the OB/GYN did not respond properly to the prolonged second stage and failed to conduct a C-section. The parties settled for $1,850,000 at mediation. You can learn more about birth injury cases generally here.
  • July 9, 2012 Settlement for $1,690,000. A plaintiff was undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Defendant anesthesiologist accidentally used the wrong port for injecting air (a test performed to test the integrity of the stomach pouch), causing the plaintiff's esophagus to rupture. The plaintiff sued the anesthesiologist and surgeon, and the parties settled for $1,690,000 at mediation.
  • July 1, 2012 Settlement for $1,700,000. A defendant neurosurgeon ordered spinal fusion surgery for plaintiff but failed to inform the patient that he had only recently been trained on this form of surgery and had not yet performed the surgery. During surgery, the defendant made an error, causing blunt force trauma to the spine that resulted in paralysis. The parties agreed to a $1,700,000 settlement at mediation.
  • May 9, 2012 Verdict for $2,000,000. For two years in a row, the defendant physician conducted routine in-house chest films as part of an annual exam and reported no abnormalities. The third year, the plaintiff began complaining of chest pain, and after conducting another chest X-ray, the physician diagnosed the plaintiff with bronchitis or pneumonia. After seeing a radiologist, the plaintiff was diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer and subsequently passed. The plaintiff's estate sued the physician for failing to identify the abnormalities in the three films, as well as failing to refer the plaintiff to a radiologist and surgeon early on who could have removed the tumor relatively easily. The jury awarded a $2,000,000 verdict at trial.
  • March 22, 2012 Verdict for $2,000,000. Plaintiff child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and pancreatic insufficiency at the age of 5 when he was presented to the doctor defendant with breathing problems. For the 8 years following, the plaintiff sought daily treatment for the incurable disease. At the age of 13, it was discovered that the plaintiff had mere asthma and not cystic fibrosis. Plaintiff's parents sued the doctor for only testing for cystic fibrosis and not considering asthma as a possibility. The jury awarded a $2,000,000 verdict at trial.
  • March 6, 2012 Settlement for $1,500,000. Plaintiff child underwent a diagnostic cardiac catheterization at a hospital. An X-ray post-surgery revealed pulmonary edema. A physician ordered a chest X-ray for the next day, which was never performed. Early in the morning of the following day, plaintiff was extubated and administered oxygen due to depleting oxygen levels. Nurses informed multiple physicians of patient's poor condition. However, at 11 am, patient was discharged from the hospital. On the way home from the hospital, the plaintiff ceased breathing and passed away. The plaintiff's parents sued the hospital and the physicians who had worked with the patient, and the parties agreed to a $1,500,000 settlement at mediation.
  • March 2012 Settlement for $2,000,000. Plaintiff, during childbirth, opted for a vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC), which comes with a high risk of uterine rupture. During birth, the plaintiff experienced uterine rupture, which in turn ruptured the placenta, causing permanent and severe brain damage in the infant. The plaintiff sued defendant OB/GYN for failing to perform a C-section despite warning signs. The parties agreed to a $2,000,000 settlement at mediation.
2011
  • December 2011 Settlement for $1,375,000. Plaintiff child, born with Pierre Robin syndrome, required a tracheostomy tube in order to breathe during early childhood. During a surgical procedure to repair a hole in the trachea and skin, the defendant surgeon left the trachea open but closed the skin, causing air to enter the child's chest. The child's lungs were unable to pump air, and pressure built up inside the child's lungs and heart. The child subsequently passed. The plaintiff's parents sued, alleging that the attempted procedure deviated from the normal standard of care. The parties agreed to a $1,375,000 settlement at mediation.
  • Surgery Malpractice
  • November 2011 Verdict for $2,650,000. In 2008, defendant radiologist conducted a routine mammogram on the plaintiff and missed an abnormality. Over a year later, the plaintiff returned to the defendant for another annual mammogram, and the radiologist now noticed two masses. The masses were Stage III-A breast cancer, which is incurable. The plaintiff sued the radiologist, asserting that he had been negligent in failing to detect the masses in 2008, to follow up with her, and to refer her to a surgeon for biopsy. As such, she was unable to seek curative treatment in time. A jury found for the plaintiff, rendering $2,650,000 verdict.
  • October 3, 2011 Settlement for $1,200,000. A plaintiff mother who was an insulin-dependent diabetic was admitted to the hospital for childbirth. During the 26-hour childbirth, the plaintiff was not given any insulin despite signs of elevated blood sugar levels. As such, she developed diabetic ketoacidosis, which caused the infant to be born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (oxygen deprivation). The child was resuscitated and placed on life support but passed away after six days. The plaintiff sued the hospital for negligence, arguing that the hospital failed to heed the warning signs of ketoacidosis and give her insulin. The parties agreed to a $1,200,000 settlement at mediation.
  • October 1, 2011 Settlement for $1,400,000. A plaintiff suffered a leg fracture due to a fall and was admitted to the hospital for leg surgery. Following surgery, she developed compartment syndrome, a syndrome in which muscles are subject to increased pressure, resulting in blood flow and nerve damage. Her leg then became necrotic, and the hospital was forced to amputate. The plaintiff sued, arguing that the defendant surgeon had failed to heed her complaints of pain and compartment syndrome and that the nurses had failed to adequately respond to her emergency. The parties agreed to a $1,400,000 settlement at mediation.
  • September 30, 2011 Settlement for $1,375,000. A plaintiff was referred to defendant urologist for having elevated levels of a prostate-specific antigen. The urologist conducted a biopsy, which revealed positive results for prostate cancer. However, the defendant failed to notify the plaintiff of the positive results. A year later, the plaintiff sought treatment from another urologist for an enlarged prostate and was told he had prostate cancer. The prostate cancer was incurable, and the plaintiff passed away. The plaintiff's estate brought action, alleging that due to the defendant's negligence in failing to notify the plaintiff of the positive results, the plaintiff was unable to seek life-saving treatment. The parties agreed to a $1,375,000 settlement at mediation. You can get more urology verdicts here.
  • September 26, 2011 Settlement for $1,700,000. The plaintiff was admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath and chest pain. Suspecting pneumonia, the doctor decided not to conduct a CT chest scan to check for a pulmonary embolus. The patient was treated for pneumonia, and due to reduced kidney function, the doctors started the plaintiff on Heparin therapy. When the patient's condition failed to improve, the doctors stopped the Heparin therapy in preparation for a lung biopsy. The plaintiff then suffered a fatal pulmonary embolus. Plaintiff's estate argued that warning signs of pulmonary embolus were present and that the doctors erred in treating for pneumonia and not conducting tests for pulmonary embolus. The parties agreed to a $1,700,000 settlement at mediation. You can get more verdicts against ER doctors here.
  • June 1, 2011 Settlement for $1,200,000. Starting in 1983, a plaintiff began showing elevated liver enzymes. However, the defendant physician did not request a complete metabolic profile until 2001, which he never received and never followed up on. In 2007, the defendant had a Hepatitis C test conducted, which was positive. However, the plaintiff was never notified of the test results. In 2009, plaintiff saw a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy and was told he had Hepatitis C. Plaintiff was later diagnosed with liver cancer and subsequently passed. The plaintiff's estate filed suit, arguing the defendant breached the standard of care by ignoring the elevated liver enzymes and failure to discuss the abnormal test results with the patient. The parties agreed to a $1,200,000 settlement at mediation.
2010
  • December 20, 2010 Settlement for $3,000,000. Plaintiff underwent multiple surgeries in her right and left eyes, including three corneal transplants, trabeculectomy, cataract removal, intraocular lens implantation, removal of adhesions on the iris, and injection of medication directly into the right eye. The plaintiff sued, arguing the defendant had breached the standard of care, necessitating multiple surgeries. The parties reached a settlement of $3,000,000 at mediation.
  • October 25, 2010 Settlement for $1,050,000. A plaintiff underwent a myomectomy in 2004 after a mass was found in her uterus. Part of the tissue was biopsied and tested for cancer. However, the defendant pathologist determined it was benign. After further complications, plaintiff then underwent a hysterectomy in 2006, and part of the tissue was biopsied and tested for cancer. Again, another defendant pathologist determined the mass was benign. After complaining of back pain in 2007, a CT scan discovered a malignant tumor. Her 2004 and 2006 test results were reviewed, at which evidence of uterine cancer was detected. Plaintiff filed suit against the two pathologists, alleging that she would have had a 50% chance of survival had the cancer been correctly diagnosed earlier. The parties agreed to settle at $1,050,000 at mediation.
  • September 17, 2010 Settlement for $1,000,000. Deceased plaintiff was born prematurely and placed in neonatal intensive care. A catheter was inserted to provide infant with blood, lipids, nutrition, and medication. 48 hours after insertion, the insertion point showed evidence of issues. However, it was not until another 48 hours later that the catheter was removed. At this point, the arm required amputation as it had become necrotic. Infant then passed away. Plaintiff's parents filed suit, alleging that the hospital failed to monitor the insertion point properly and failed to properly care for the arm upon discovery. The parties reached a settlement of $1,000,000 at mediation.
  • September 1, 2010 Settlement for $1,700,000. Following gastric bypass surgery, plaintiff was admitted to the hospital with breathing issues and vomiting, then discharged a week later. Two weeks later, the plaintiff was again admitted, now with complaints of dizziness and vomiting. After discharge, plaintiff consulted with her primary care physician, complaining of problems with walking, standing, and speaking. Plaintiff was again admitted to the hospital with complaints of dizziness and blurry vision, was diagnosed with mad cow disease, and was discharged. Plaintiff was again admitted for breathing problems and passed away in the hospital. An autopsy revealed that the plaintiff had Wernicke encephalopathy, not mad cow disease. Plaintiff's estate sued defendants for failing to properly diagnose and treat her condition. The parties agreed to settle at $1,700,000 at mediation.
  • August 26, 2010 Verdict for $1,950,000. Plaintiff presented with breathing problems immediately after four outpatient plastic surgery procedures. Plaintiff was sent home anyway. Plaintiff's sister contacted defendant's office, claiming plaintiff had difficulty moving. Approximately 33 hours after the surgeries, she was found unresponsive in bed. She had passed away due to aspiration pneumonia. Plaintiff's estate brought action, claiming the defendant failed to properly identify the aspiration issues post-surgery and respond to the urgent phone call. The jury found for the plaintiff with a verdict of $1,950,000.
  • July 1, 2010 Settlement for $1,600,000. Following a laryngectomy surgery, nurses notified the defendant surgeon that plaintiff had lost circulation in his legs. Medication Three-and-a-half hours later, the defendant examined the plaintiff and called for a vascular consult. The vascular surgeon, who claimed the defendant never contacted him, did not examine the plaintiff until 8 hours later. As a result, the plaintiff's legs were amputated. Plaintiff brought action, alleging the surgeon acted negligently by failing to diagnose the issue, respond in a timely manner, and obtain a vascular consult faster. The parties agreed to settle for $1,600,000 at mediation.
  • June 1, 2010 Settlement for $1,500,000. After birth of plaintiff patient, the defendant radiologist conducted an ultrasound to see if plaintiff's hips were located and reported negative findings. At four months old, the same procedure was conducted, and again, another defendant radiologist reported negative findings. At 8 years old, plaintiff was diagnosed with bilateral hip dislocations, requiring reconstruction. The plaintiff brought action, alleging that defendants acted negligently by failing to properly interpret the ultrasounds. Parties agreed to settle at $1,500,000 at mediation.
  • May 27, 2010 Verdict for $1,850,000. Due to a history of melanoma, defendant radiologist conducted chest CT scans to survey for metastasis. Defendant reported that scan was free of malignancy, noting only evidence of asbestos damage. Plaintiff was later diagnosed with Stage III-A lung cancer. Plaintiff brought action, claiming defendant had failed to notice a changing nodule in the lung that indicated high chance of malignancy. Jury found for plaintiff, rendering a verdict of $1,750,000 plus prejudgment interest.
  • May 21, 2010 Verdict for $1,930,000. Plaintiff, due to a work injury, began to experience back pain and tingling in her leg. Defendant surgeon conducted a disc herniation surgery. However, post-surgery, plaintiff continued to experience pain and tingling, had to use a wheelchair occasionally, and was unable to work. Plaintiff sued, alleging defendant had used both an incorrect and outdated surgery. Jury found for plaintiff, rendering a verdict of $1,930,000.
  • March 31, 2010 Verdict for $2,500,000. Plaintiff, with a family history of diverticulitis, presented to defendant physician with diverticulitis symptoms but was given a laxative and sent home. Plaintiff was later sent to the hospital, was given treatment for diverticulitis, and then discharged. Plaintiff began seeing defendant physician about the condition, who continued the treatment prescribed by the ER doctor. Defendant ordered a CT scan, which revealed diverticulitis and an abscess. Plaintiff was admitted to the hospital and began to improve after her abscess was drained. However, after her conditioned worsened post-discharge, she was hospitalized, and a surgeon removed MRSA-infected bowel. Plaintiff then suffered a stroke that caused a host of cognitive, speech, and mobility issues. Plaintiff also suffered multiple bowel issues due to the diverticulitis. Plaintiff brought action, alleging the defendant had failed to timely diagnose and treat the diverticulitis, which in turn had caused the stroke. Jury found for the plaintiff, rendering a verdict of $2,500,000 that was lowered to $1,650,000 due to the statutory cap.
  • February, 2010 Verdict for $2,933,500. After eating steak, plaintiff was admitted to hospital with complaints of chest pain and difficulty breathing. It was not until the next day that he was diagnosed with an esophageal tear. Plaintiff went into cardiac arrest when surgery began to fix the tear. Due to irreparable brain damage, he was removed from life support and passed. Plaintiff's estate filed suit, arguing that defendant radiologist was negligent in failing to diagnose the tear sooner, which lead to delay in treatment and ultimately, death. Jury found for plaintiff, rendering a verdict of $2,933,500 that was lowered to the $1,650,000 statutory cap.
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Please note: The following is an extremely unscientific sampling of medical malpractice verdicts and settlements. We pull settlements and verdicts on this website from a variety of sources, including our own cases. There is no methodology to which cases are selected and they are certainly not representative of the value of your case or your client's case. Each medical malpractice case in the Virginia should be evaluated on its own merits.

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