A jury in New York ordered Winthrop University Hospital in Long Island to shell out $62 million to Stacey Galette after she sued the hospital following a routine surgery that lead to the amputation of both her legs. Galette, who is from Brooklyn, said she is pleased with the outcome of the lawsuit.
"I'm just happy justice was served," Galette told New York Daily News. "I'm not able to walk."
The lawsuit, filed in 2010, claimed medical malpractice after an Oct. 2009 laparoscopic procedure, during which doctors remove an ectopic pregnancy, triggered an infection that led to blood poisoning and gangrene in both her feet. What was supposed to be a short, routine stay in the hospital turned into a nightmare: Galette was in a coma for three weeks and both her legs were amputated below the knee. She also lost most of her hearing.
Galette did not know about the amputation until she woke up from the coma in the ICU. She now uses a wheelchair and prosthetic legs to get around.
"[The doctors] punctured her intestine causing an infection and blood poisoning, and gangrene set in ... resulting in below-the-knee amputation in both legs,” Galette's lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, told NBC News in 2010.
According to HNGN, a Brooklyn jury deliberated for three days following a 12-week trial. They awarded 34-year-old Galette $20 million for the pain she endured, $38 million for the pain she would experience for the rest of her life, and $4 million to cover any medical expenses.
The hospital denies that doctors were negligent or were involved in any wrongdoing. A spokesperson for the hospital said the complications during Galette’s surgery came on quickly and doctors had little time to respond before her condition deteriorated. The hospital said their efforts saved the then-30-year-old’s life. But the jury sided with Galette.
“We knew mistakes had been made,” juror Miriam Beyer of Greenpoint told New York Daily News. “Our main issue was who’s responsible and how much money do you put on the loss of enjoyment of life, on the loss of a limb.”