Jury Awards Woman $23.1 Million After Double Leg Amputation


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Founding partner Matt Casey won an impressive $23.1 million jury verdict on behalf of a Lehighton, Pa., woman who lost her legs to infection because of nursing negligence.

The medical malpractice verdict, among the highest ever in Lehigh County, came after Casey argued that Sharlee Ann Smoyer’s home-care nurse failed to report a bacteria-infected catheter that led to an infection that nearly killed her in 2008.

At the time, Smoyer, 52, had Crohn’s disease and was being treated for its complications. She eventually had both of her legs amputated below the knee, as well as a finger on her left hand.

After seven days of testimony, the jury found Smoyer’s nurse, and the nurse’s employer, St. Luke’s Miners Memorial Home Care, negligent. Smoyer was awarded $23.1 million for medical expenses, lost earnings and damages for pain and suffering.

“Sharlee Smoyer was one of St. Luke’s most vulnerable home-care nursing patients and they refused during this trial to accept even the most basic responsibility for mistakes made in her care,” Casey said after the verdict. “Ms. Smoyer hopes that the verdict will result in St. Luke’s redoubling its efforts to help prevent catheter-related bloodstream infections in the home-care setting.”

At $23.1 million, it was the largest verdict in Lehigh County in a decade, and the third highest medical malpractice verdict in the state in 10 years, The Legal Intelligencer reported.

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