A jury in Washington last week awarded $18 million to Becky Anderson, whose Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) endotracheal tube was set on fire during a laser surgery procedure, finding the physicians, their practices and the hospital negligent and responsible but exempting Medtronic from any culpability.
Anderson, 55, underwent an elective procedure in February 2012 during which she was given general anesthesia by Dr. Linda Schatz using a Medtronic Laser-Shield II endotracheal tube, according to court records. The surgeon, Dr. Donald Paugh, “attempted to perform a surgical procedure on the plaintiff’s throat utilizing a laser,” according to the documents.
“During the procedure, a fire occurred at the surgical site severely injuring the plaintiff. Plaintiff was airlifted to Harborview in King County, Washington where she has received extensive care and undergone multiple surgeries. Plaintiff remains a patient at Harborview, in King County at the time this action was commenced,” according to the May 18, 2012 complaint.
The complaint alleged negligence on the part of the hospital, the 2 doctors and Medtronic. The jury in the case returned a verdict Dec. 5, awarding $18 million plus legal costs to Anderson, according to court records.
The jury award consisted of $2.6 million for past economic damages, $7.4 million for future economic damages, $2 million for past non-economic damages and $6 million for future non-economic damages, according to the records. Paugh and his medical practice were 42.5% responsible for the combined negligence, the jury decided, with Schatz and her employer deemed 52.5% responsible and Central Washington hospital 5% responsible.