Using a Vocational Expert in a Medical Malpractice Case

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This case illustration shows how a vocational expert can be especially helpful in establishing damages in a medical malpractice case. In one case, a vocational expert provided evidence showing how a two-month-old child’s injuries impacted her ability to earn money in the future when she became an adult.

Medical Malpractice Case Illustration
When the plaintiff was two months old, she was admitted to a hospital in Brooklyn. She was continuously vomiting, suffering from diarrhea, and had a fever for 3 days. A resident diagnosed the plaintiff with bronchopneumonia. The hospital failed to note the child’s recent urine output and examine mucous membranes, which was a departure from accepted medical practice.

Six hours after being admitted, the plaintiff was diagnosed with hypernatremic dehydration. At that point she was comatose and almost in hypovolemic shock.

In her suit against the hospital, the plaintiff claimed that she was misdiagnosed because when she was admitted to the hospital, she was suffering from moderate hypernatremic dehydration and impending shock. The plaintiff contended that the hospital’s failure to diagnose her renal failure was partially because they did not record her urine output. That made it impossible to monitor her hydration, and caused her to lose an additional three ounces in weight and body water during the first 24 hours that she was hospitalized. The plaintiff also contended that the hospital was negligent for failing to provide a physician to supervise its residents.

Injuries
The plaintiff suffered permanent injuries including profound mental retardation and mild cerebral palsy.

Recovery
In this medical malpractice case, the jury awarded the plaintiff $26,000,000. The verdict was reduced as excessive by the trial judge to $5,000,000. Out of the $5,000,000 award, $6,000,000 was for future pain and suffering for 35 years (reduced to $2,500,000), $12, 000,000 for future custodial care (reduced to $2,000,000), and $8,000,000 for future therapy (reduced to $500,000).The hospital as found 65% liable, and the plaintiff’s treating pediatrician was found to be 35% liable.

OAS
Edmond Provder was the Rehabilitation, Vocational and Life Care Planning expert on this case. He was able to provide evidence of the types of jobs the plaintiff could perform given her injuries. Mr. Provder also evidenced the plaintiff’s future lost wages, which were a result of the plaintiff’s inability to have jobs she may have qualified for if she did not suffer injuries as a result of the hospital’s negligence.

vocational expert’s testimony can greatly benefit and personal injury or medical malpractice claim. Contact Edmond Provder, owner Occupational Assessment Services, Inc., one of the top companies providing vocational expert services in the United States. He can be reached at 800-292-1919 to discuss establishing damages in your case.