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Medical malpractice is entirely preventable. Every year, an estimated 98,000 people die because of medical malpractice. Many of those deaths are caused by human error, outdated medical systems or entirely preventable medication errors. These are the types of mistakes healthcare professionals are expected to anticipate and fix. Sadly, mistakes continue to occur, many of which cost lives. Many more cause life-altering and debilitating injuries.
For Donald Johnson, age 65, the medical malpractice mistake he was victim to cost him his left leg. Johnson, a former Loves Park, Illinois police lieutenant, was admitted to the local Rockford Memorial Hospital on August 10, 2010. He was suffering from dizziness, weakness and suspected upper gastrointestinal bleeding. He had a history of peripheral vascular disease in his lower extremities.
Doctors at Rockford Memorial examined Johnson’s lower left leg. They determined it had only 41% blood flow. Despite these shocking results, the doctors decided to apply an Unna Boot, which is a special gauze bandage. Johnson was instructed to keep the boot on for five days. When the boot was finally removed, Johnson’s leg showed necrotic skin tissue, which ultimately required a below-the-knee amputation. Some time later, doctors determined an above-the-knee amputation was necessary.
According to Johnson’s lawsuit, filed by attorney Bradley M. Cosgrove of the Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, the general surgeon at Rockford Memorial failed to offer surgical options to restore the blood flow to Johnson’s leg, and the use of the boot was negligent given his low blood flow. The jury agreed, awarding Johnson $3.157 million. It took the jury less than five hours to deliberate after the nearly two-week trial came to a close.