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Jury awards patient $22M for malpractice causing quadriplegia

A $22 million jury award has grabbed headlines for its eye-popping sum, but a closer look at the medical malpractice case may quickly change opinions.

The huge verdict was awarded to Robyn Frankel, a 48-year-old California woman, after a risky and unnecessary medical procedure caused her to slip into a coma causing brain damage. When Frankel emerged from her coma she discovered that she had permanently lost use of her arms and legs.

As the mother of two school-age children, Frankel's physical disability has impacted her life in just about every way imaginable. She and her husband divorced after the crippling medical malpractice injury.

The jury carefully listened to Frankel's story and testimony from many doctors before arriving at the sum, but medical malpractice caps will reduce the award to about $16 million. The award will not buy Frankel a mansion and luxurious life; however, as the amount is estimated to be just enough to take care of Frankel's medical and financial needs - not wants - for the rest of her life.

In virtually every successful medical malpractice lawsuit, the patient would give every cent of an award back just to have life back to the way it was before the injury. Frankel's case is no different: She would gladly decline her award if she could get her fully functioning body back.

Source:, "Menlo Park woman receives $22 million medical malpractice verdict," Jason Green, March 21, 2012

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