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Broken ankle leads to leg amputation, $9M award for malpractice

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Approximately 6 million Americans break a bone each year. While some breaks involve compound fractures and severe trauma, the vast majority of Americans’ bones heal without lasting problems. Sometimes, however, a medical mistake can have disastrous consequences.

This is the case for a man who recently won a $9.1 million award after sharing his plight with a New York jury.

Donald Schultz, 45, broke his ankle in 2004 and received medical treatment, yet pain persisted in his little toe. He was suffering from a rare nerve disorder and had several unsuccessful surgeries before his doctor amputated the toe.

Schultz suffered a post-surgical infection and the physician amputated his fourth toe. Infection spread, eventually necessitating amputation of the leg below the knee.

Just when Schultz thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. Infection persisted and more of his leg was amputated. 12 surgeries later, his leg is amputated above the knee and he can no longer work.

While Schultz would gladly hand back the $9.1 million award to get his leg back and erase a decade of suffering, his case shows that sometimes it is necessary to take a medical malpractice case all the way to trial to get sufficient compensation.

Source: Buffalo News, “Former Tonawanda Dispatcher Awarded $9.1 Million In Medical Malpractice Suit,” James Staas, Feb. 17, 2014

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