A Lehighton woman awarded $23 million in a case involving amputation.
September 17, 2011
Sharlee Ann Smoyer, a Lehighton woman who lost her legs to infection, was awarded more than $23 million by a Lehigh County jury on Friday.
The amputation occurred as the result of an infection while Smoyer, 55, was under the care of a St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network nurse.
This medical malpractice verdict is one of the largest ever in the county.
Smoyer suffered a bacterial infection after her home-care nurse failed to properly report an infection at her catheter site. The infection, which occurred in 2008, nearly killed her.
The woman had been treated for Crohn's disease and was recovery from intestinal surgery. The infection required her legs to be amputated below the knee. She also lost a finger on her left hand.
The jurors heard seven days of testimony in Judge Carol McGinley's courtroom. At the end of deliberations, St. Luke's Miners Memorial Home Care and a company nurse were found negligent. The $23.12 million award was for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Matt Casey, a founding partner of Ross Feller Casey, LLP in Philadelphia and the lead attorney on the case, stated after the verdict that St. Luke's was not willing to take even the slightest responsibility for the mistakes it made in Smoyer's care. He also said that his client was hopeful that the verdict will bring about changes in the way the facility cares for patients with catheters.
Ross Feller Casey, LLP, has built a solid reputation for its medical malpractice victories. Some cases of note include: