Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Erectile Dysfunction Malpractice Verdict--This Would Be Cut Down In Ohio

A Georgia jury returned a $9.25 million verdict against Boston Men's Health Center after its erectile dysfunction treatments caused permanent damage to a 53 year old patient's penis. Apparently the damage was caused by a series of injections of a "secret formula" that was actually a medication (Papaverine) that came under fire by The FDA:

After the initial examination, the clinic's staff diagnosed Howard with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation and said they would inject their medication into his penis, a process that would be "painless." Although described by the company as a "secret formula," Orr said that the primary ingredient injected into Howard was a drug called papaverine. While papaverine had once been the primary means of treating erectile dysfunction, it was discarded as a treatment after Viagra was introduced in 1998, Orr said. The Food and Drug Administration has since warned that papaverine should not be used to treat erectile dysfunction, he said.

The jury awarded compensatory damages (money damages designed to compensate for physical damage) of $750,000 and also found Boston Medical liable for $8.5 million in punitive damages( money damages designed to punish a party for outrageous conduct).

If an Ohio jury returned an identical $9.25 million medical malpractice verdict, the minute the jury left the courtroom the judge would have been required to chop the punitive damages verdict from $8.5 million to $1.5 million--a whopping $7 million discount.

Obviously this jury believed that Boston Medical's conduct in repeatedly using a medication no longer recommended by The FDA was more than just negligent conduct. So why do Ohio punitive damage laws give a $7 million discount to a party found liable for egregious conduct? And as a final insult, Ohio juries are not even told that their community decision is subject to an automatic reduction of potentially millions. In fact, the law specifically forbids judges from informing Ohio juries that there are limits or caps on punitive damage verdicts.

Another Ohio "tort reform" law that favors (and rewards) wrongdoers, and hoodwinks juries from being told the truth.

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