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Spence Law Firm Wins $10.165 Million in Hospital Amputation Case

Oct 18, 2018

Wyoming Jury Deems Hospital, Attending Doctor, and Nurses Guilty of Negligence Following Missed Diagnosis Leading to Double Amputation

In the case of Darrell Menapace v. Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, et. al., a Wyoming jury awarded $10.165 million to a man who lost both legs after his doctor and nurses failed to diagnose a vascular emergency and discharged him home with the wrong diagnosis. Four days later he was life-flighted to a regional hospital where they amputated both legs above-the knee.

We represented Darrell Menapace, who was diagnosed with peripheral vascular disease and diabetes during his stay at Memorial Hospital. Menapace claimed that the doctor and nurses assigned to his case did not adequately care for him, which resulted in failure to identify a vascular emergency (blood clots preventing blood from reaching his lower legs). The evidence we uncovered revealed that nurses tasked with caring for Mr. Menapace did not read the doctor's diagnoses and assessments or that of other nurses. If they had, they would have recognized that his leg pain and difficulty walking were the result of a serious circulatory problem.

Attorneys Emily Rankin and Bryan Ulmer argued that the doctor, Lin Miao, negligently chose to address Mr. Menapace's other health problems, rather than immediately sending him to a vascular surgeon to address the vascular emergency. The correct diagnosis and treatment would have saved Darrell's legs. We also argued that the nurses responsible for performing daily evaluations of Mr. Menapace did not share important information about his condition with one another or Dr. Miao and that, had they done so, Dr. Miao may have reevaluated his approach and intervened to restore circulation in Mr. Menapace's legs, which could have eliminated the need for amputation.

After two weeks and multiple in-depth medical testimonies, the jury assigned 50 percent of fault to Dr. Miao and 40 percent to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, issuing a $10.165 million verdict in favor of Mr. Menapace. The verdict should provide security to Darrell Menapace to help with future medical needs and also recognizes the past and future pain and suffering for the loss of both of his legs. This is an important verdict because it affirms the critical role that nurses play in communication and treatment, and it holds Wyoming medical care providers accountable to act on the signs of medical disasters before they occur. We are proud to have served Mr. Menapace in this case and helped him obtain just compensation following his loss.

We Fight for the Rights of Injured People in Wyoming & Throughout the Nation

At The Spence Law Firm, we stick up for people who have been hurt through no fault of their own. We routinely handle complex cases involving medical malpractice and other forms of negligence, and securing large settlements and verdicts for our clients is not uncommon for us. If you have been injured because of another person's careless or inappropriate behavior, we may be able to take your case and bring it to a just, fair solution.

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