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Jury Slaps VUMC With $16.4M Verdict

May 20, 2005 | Vanderbilt University Medical Center officials plan to appeal a major medical malpractice lawsuit verdict rendered this week against the center.

In the highest verdict ever against VUMC, a jury awarded $16.4 million in compensatory damages to a patient from Paris, Tenn.

The verdict, handed down Wednesday in Davidson County Circuit Court, was for a complaint alleging that a surgeon inadvertently removed a portion of an 11-month-old child’s bladder during bladder surgery, leaving the patient with a continuous affliction.

The child, now 6, has had to undergo two other surgeries and is required to have a catheter through an opening in the navel for use six times a day.

"We appreciate the verdict and the jury’s time and effort," said the plaintiff’s attorney.

In a statement, VUMC officials said, "We are very surprised by this verdict… and feel it is far beyond what is reasonable and what the evidence showed."

John Howser, VUMC spokesman, said, "We admitted a mistake, notified the family and went to mediation trying vigorously to make a fair settlement before going to trial."

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