Disabled man receives $12 million settlement for burn injuries

We often hear of medical malpractice or nursing home negligence cases settling, and often they are characterized as if most of these cases are frivolous lawsuits and are settled by the nursing home or hospital to make them go away and save legal fees. Then there are cases like this one, where they settle to prevent the facts from going to a jury. Because they know the conduct was so horrific that a jury will be happy to return a verdict that includes millions of dollars in punitive damages.

This situation is a textbook example of nursing home negligence. A severely disabled man, who received around the clock care because of his disabilities, was taken to a bathtub. The worker who was in charge of his care had not been properly trained and filled the bathtub with scalding hot water. He then placed the disabled man in the tub, but because of his autism, he cannot speak or scream. Instead, he struggled to get out of the scalding water. The attendant failed to understand what was wrong and assumed he was having a seizure and held him down in the scalding water.

The man had to be airlifted to the University of Chicago Hospital to treat the third-degree burns he suffered on his feet, legs buttock and back. The burns caused "respiratory failure, pulmonary edema and sepsis," and he suffered permanent brain damage that left him in need of a feeding tube and a ventilator.

The man received a $12 million dollar settlement to be placed in a trust, which will be used to provide the elevated care he will require. This case shows the type of injuries that can occur when an untrained employee is allowed to provide care.

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