An Iowa man was awarded $27 million in damages after a jury found a medical clinic to be negligent in misdiagnosing him with the flu.

Joseph Dudley, 53, filed the lawsuit against UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine in Des Moines in 2017 after suffering a permanent injury from bacterial meningitis, which was falsely diagnosed as influenza.

On Monday, the Polk County District Court jury found the physician assistant who diagnosed him, Melanie Choos, to be negligent in the decision.

The jury awarded $12 million for future loss of full mind and body, $10 million for future pain and suffering, $2.5 million for past loss of body and mind function, and $2.5 million for past pain and suffering to Dudley as a result of the misdiagnosis.

"This is a fair and just verdict for a man who has severe, permanent brain damage and who is one of tens of thousands of medical malpractice victims that have cases pending in this country," said Dudley's attorney, Nick Rowley.

In February 2017, Dudley went to the clinic and cited fatigue, dizziness, and a fever.

According to the lawsuit, Choos diagnosed him with influenza and sent him home with the drug Tamiflu even after a flu test came back negative. Dudley reportedly had a 103-degree fever, an abnormal heart rate, shallow breathing, and was acting erratic and combative -- all symptoms of meningitis.

His wife, Sarah Dudley, said he was unable to walk and had to be placed in a wheelchair when leaving the clinic.

"I had faith in them. I believed them," she told the Des Moines Register. "They're doctors. They're supposed to help people. I would never think at an urgent care clinic we would be treated this way."

A few days later, his wife took him to the emergency room at UnityPoint Iowa Methodist Medical Center after his condition did not improve. Doctors later determined that Josephy Dudley had acute meningitis and put him in a medically induced coma.

Josephy Dudley spent eight days in intensive care and was discharged over a month later.

Sarah Dudley said he suffered three strokes, permanently lost hearing in his right ear, suffered nerve damage in his right leg, and still experiences mood swings and paranoia as a result of the infection. He spent months relearning how to walk, feed, and bathe himself.

"Every day of Joe's life will be affected by the severe brain damage he has," Sarah Dudley said.

Joseph Dudley is Black and the couple said that their care may have been affected by his race. According to Sarah Dudley, Choos asked if he was suffering from withdrawal from illegal drugs even though he does not consume illegal drugs. The couple's concerns about racial discrimination were not discussed during the trial.

"It's not what we argued to the jury, but that's what we believe may have happened because of statistics and what we know nationally," Rowley said.

UnityPoint Health officials denied racial bias in Joseph Dudley's care and said on Monday that they believe the clinic met the established standards of care.

"We respect the jury process but strongly disagree with this verdict and are exploring all options, including an appeal," UnityPoint Health spokesperson Mark Tauscheck said.

"We support our providers and clinicians as they make important medical decisions each day. UnityPoint Clinic remains committed to providing compassionate, personalized care and meeting the highest standards of clinical quality and patient safety."

UnityPoint Health is a West Des Moines, Iowa-based center which hosts 400 clinics, 20 regional hospitals, and 19 community network hospitals in the midwest region.