Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 6, 2020

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A California woman who suffered a severe brain injury and then waited for over five hours in a hospital emergency room before being attended to was awarded $12 million in damages. The hospital’s delay in treating the 22 year old woman promptly left her in a permanent, vegetative state for the rest of her life.

California medical malpractice

This California medical malpractice lawsuit involves a young woman whose life was forever changed by a hospital’s negligence. According to news reports, 22 year old Jessica Ramirez was training to become a police officer. She was attending a family function in 2007 when she was accidentally shot in the head with an air gun. Although semi-conscious, she walked to nearby Greater El Monte Community Hospital for treatment. Even though hospital staff knew she had a head injury, Jessica was forced to wait five hours before being seen. Once a doctor examined her, she was air-lifted to Huntington Hospital where she had to undergo brain surgery.

Unfortunately, by the time she underwent surgery, the bleeding and pressure from the injury which went unattended for so long caused permanent brain damage. She is now only minimally conscious and in a vegetative state where she requires round the clock care. Her family hired a medical malpractice lawyer in Los Angeles County California and filed a lawsuit against the hospital alleging that she wouldn’t have suffered such severe injuries if the facility’s medical staff had acted promptly – allegations which Huntington’s brain surgeon also attested to at trial. A jury awarded her $12 million in damages.

Every med mal situation is unique

While certain med mal situations – like Jessica’s – may be more obvious than others, medical malpractice attorneys say that if a person’s medical records show a deviation from accepted standards of medical care, then a lawsuit may be viable.

The problem is that every situation is different and a lawsuit will depend upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the conduct. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your situation and provide information on what medical records are needed, what experts might be used and the types of compensation for which you might be entitled. Keep in mind that every state has a different statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit, so even if you aren’t sure how you want to proceed, contacting a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options is always advisable.

The foregoing article has been prepared by an attorney who is a regular contributor to FreeAdvice, and is now undergoing review by the site’s editorial staff.