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Victims' Stories demonstrate unfairness of damage caps

Every week, PaTLA sends a new case study to legislators demonstrating the unfairness of damage caps. These cases tell the real stories, in words and pictures, of victims of medical malpractice whose lives have already been turned upside down by the carelessness of others. A cap on non-economic damages would limit these victims' ability to recover for the pain and suffering they have endured. This program is run by PaTLA Treasurer Beth Lazzara of Pittsburgh. 

**Updated February 9, 2005**

To view, print or download these compelling stories, click below.

Evelyn (February 7, 2023)- Evelyn was left without hands and feet after her surgeons failed to treat her circulation problems. Not one of her six physicians took charge when Evelyn's nurse reported her blue hands and feet. Evelyn's Story #68
Jon (May 24, 2023) - Jon was a hard-working, active man who enojoyed his work. He now lives in constant pain due to a doctor’s blatant disregard for hospital policy. Jon's Story#62
Sam's Story (May 17, 2023) - Sam entered the hospital with severe abdominal pain. Had his CT scan been properly interpreted by his doctor, he would be alive today. Sam's Story#61
Paul's Story (May 10, 2023) - As a result of his doctor’s failure to treat his high blood pressure, Paul can no longer work and even simple tasks are incredibly difficult. Paul's Story#60
Sabrina (May 3, 2023) - Sabrina lives each day in constant pain because her surgeon decided, without her knowledge, to use her as a guinea pig to practice a new skill. Sabrina's Story#59
Tommy (April 26, 2023) - Tommy is a spastic quadriplegic and suffers from severe mental retardation because the doctors to whom his mother turned for help failed to care for her. Tommy's Story#58
Nilda (April 19, 2023) - Nilda is in a a vegetative state now because of the negligence of her surgeon, who failed to operate on a life-threatening condition. Nilda's Story#57
Diane (April 12, 2004) - A series of absolutely preventable medical errors took Diane from her children, grandchildren, sister, and parents forever. Diane's Story#56
Frank (April 5, 2023) - Due to the negligence of a careless driver, Frank finds doing the things he used to love now nearly impossible. Frank's Story#55
Doug (Mar. 29, 2004) - Doug, an active volunteer firefighter who helped in the recovery efforts of September 11, had his dreams shattered when he sustained severe injuries due to the negligence of his doctors. Doug's Story#54
Derl (Mar. 22, 2004) - Derl ’s life was taken from him due to his doctor's failure to diagnose the bladder cancer that was producing such obvious symptoms. Derl's Story#53
Hugh (Mar. 15, 2004) - Despite being burned in a fire, Hugh was expected to make a full recovery. However, as a result of a medical mistake, he suffered irreversible brain damage and is now a quadriplegic. Hugh's Story#52
Chris (Mar. 8, 2004) - Chris had a promising future, but a drunk driver took those dreams from him. Chris' Story#51
Martha (Mar. 1, 2004) - Martha's husband and children are alone, without the love and guidance she once gave them. A careless dump truck driver took this from them when he failed to stop for a red light and plowed through Martha's vehicle. Martha's Story#50
Brian (Feb. 23, 2004) - Little Brian was an energetic pre-schooler,who loved playing with his brother and teasing his mom. All that changed when the car in which Brian was riding was hit head-on by a careless driver,speeding on a wet roadway. Brian's Story#49
Steve (Feb. 16, 2004) - Steve, a single father, narrowly avoided being crushed to death, sustaining severe bodily injury when he was trapped between a dump truck and a bulldozer. Steve's Story#48
Juli (Feb. 9, 2004) - Juli was riding in a car that was struck head-on by a driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel. Juli suffered tremendous injuries and horrific pain as a result. Juli's Story#47
Amy (Feb. 2, 2004) - Amy died a tragically preventable death when a wheel flew off a car travelling in the opposite direction and crashed into the car in which she was riding. Amy's Story#46
Becky (Dec. 22, 2003) - Due to a car manufacturer ’s failure to install proper safety features in the back seat of the vehicle in which Becky was riding,Becky is restricted to life in a wheelchair. Becky's Story#45
Jessica (Dec. 15, 2003) - Jessica was severely brain damaged by the negligence of two drivers. Developmentally, she lives the life of a toddler, and will never mature. Jessica's Story#44
Allen (Dec. 8, 2003) - Allen lost his life to a company's desire for money and profits. Allen's Story#43
Eric (Dec. 1, 2003) - Eric suffered severe brain damage as a result of a doctor’s negligence in delivering him. Eric's Story#42
Yalon (Nov. 24, 2003) - Yalon’s physicians knew she had signs of a high-risk condition during her pregnancy. Yet, her doctors waited over 13 hours to perform a caesarian section. Yalon's Story#41
Nikkida (Nov. 17, 2003) - Nikki was only 19 when an untreated infection took her life. Her physicians knew she was symptomatic,but did nothing to treat her infection. Nikkida's Story#40
Evan (Nov. 10, 2003) - Evan will never lead a full and enjoyable life due to the negligence of several doctors. He has no control over his limbs, and is severely brain damaged from a lack of oxygen in the womb. Evan's Story#39
Bonnie (Nov. 3, 2003) - Bonnie’s gynecologist failed to order necessary tests on a lump found in her breast. It was not until her primary care physician ordered a biopsy that she learned about her cancer. Bonnie's Story#38
Olivia (Oct. 27, 2003) - Olivia's mom had problems delivering her first child. When the time came for her to deliver her second baby, her physicians never looked at her history or monitored the size of the baby. As a result of her doctors’ negligence, little Olivia has almost no use of her right arm. Olivia's Story#37
Lois (Oct. 20, 2003) - Lois died following her family physician’s orders. Lois displayed the signs of angina, but her doctor repeatedly misdiagnosed her symptoms and ignored a warning from an E.R. physician. Lois was treated for gallstones and heartburn, but her doctor never referred her to a cardiologist who would have saved her life. Lois' Story#36
Dana (Oct. 13, 2003) - Dana was just beginning what promised to be a successful career. All that changed when the car in which she was riding was struck at high speed by a delivery truck whose driver was not paying attention. Dana was crushed between the front and back seats of the car. Dana's Story#35
Elaine (Oct. 6, 2003) - Elaine should have been enjoying her golden years after working hard for many years to take care of her children. But a laboratory’s failure to tell Elaine’s doctor about results of tests that her blood was too thin—and her doctors’ own negligence in treating her condition—have left her without the use of her legs. Elaine's Story#34
Melissa (Sept. 29, 2003) - As a result of her doctors’ negligence, tiny Melissa suffered serious brain damage. She will never breath on her own--dependent upon a ventilator—and must be fed through a tube. She is also severely disabled requiring around-the-clock care. Melissa's Story#33
Marybeth (Sept. 22, 2003) - Marybeth, a wife and mother of four children, was only 37 when she died of malignant melanoma—a totally treatable and curable cancer if detected in time. But Marybeth’s doctor ignored examining Marybeth’s skin at yearly physicals even though she knew her family’s history with the disease and had been warned by Marybeth’s oncologist. Marybeth's Story#32
Caroline (Sept. 15, 2003) - Little Caroline was born pre-term and was at an increased risk of developing high levels of bilirubin. Her medical condition could have been easily prevented, but Caroline’s doctors failed to recognize and treat her excessive bilirubin levels in time, resulting in severe brain damage. Caroline's Story#31
Mary (Sept. 8, 2003) - Mary is forced to stay home from work and rely on friends for help with everyday chores after her doctors left a sponge inside of her following surgery. Multiple doctors failed to remove the sponge, even though an X-ray clearly showed it was there. Mary's Story#30
Keith (Sept. 1, 2003) - Keith’s life was ruined forever when he went in for a routine surgery. Now his wife is afraid to leave him home alone due to a brain injury caused by the negligence of the hospital staff caring for him. Keith's Story#29
John (Aug. 25, 2003)- John was killed when a tractor-trailer driven by an illegal immigrant who had not had enough rest plowed into his car on the highway. John's Story#28
Christine (Aug. 18, 2003) - Christine was forced to give up her new career and her house, both of which she loved very much, because a doctor’s mistake caused her to lose a leg. Christine's Story#27
Gary (Aug. 11, 2003) - Gary lost his home, his hobbies, the part of his job that he loved, his energy, his self-confidence and his physical integrity because of his surgeon's negligence. Gary's Story#25 
David (Aug. 4, 2003) - Young David suffered severe and permanent brain damage when his oxygen tube became dislodged. Even though he was in a hospital intensive care unit, the nurse didn’t respond to David’s alarm for almost seven minutes. David's Story#26
Michael (July 28, 2023) - Michael died a totally preventable and needless death because his doctor failed to provide the correct treatment and the hospital was unable to appropriately respond to a cardiac emergency created by the doctor’s negligence.  Michael's Story#24 
Loan (July 21, 2023) - Loan and her family were hit head-on by a drunk driver. Loan’s children received only minor injuries, but Loan wasn’t as lucky—suffering serious facial lacerations and bruises. Loan's Story #23 
Lori (July 14, 2023) - When Lori’s car was struck head-on by a drunk driver, her life was forever shattered. Her right lower leg needed to be rebuilt and her jaw was wired shut. She cannot walk or climb stairs without intense pain and she is now relegated to a life of pain and disfigurement. Lori's Story #22
Marc (July 7, 2023) - Marc was a successful doctor who had an excellent chance of overcoming Hodgkin’s Disease. But when complications developed during a biopsy, Marc’s doctors waited too long stop his severe internal bleeding. Marc died because his doctors delayed performing a simple life-saving procedure. Marc's Story #21
Alton (June 30, 2023) - Alton was seriously injured while riding his motorcycle—the victim of a negligent driver. Witnesses thought Alton had died in the crash. He suffered severe brain trauma, punctured lungs, fractured ribs, internal injuries, severe open fractures of his left leg, and nerve damage to his left arm. Alton's Story #20
Don (June 23, 2023) - Don, an electrician, was working at a power company when he was subjected to over 12,000 volts of electricity due to the power company’s negligence. Don should have died--suffering multi-organ failure several times, receiving burns on over 60% of his body and even more damaging internal burns and injuries, and undergoing painful reconstructive surgeries for his face, hands, and bodily integrity. Don's Story #19
Joe (June 16, 2023) - Unlike most fathers, Joe, who is dying of cancer, will not be able to take care of his family or watch his young son grow up. Joe’s mouth cancer was treatable, but his doctor misdiagnosed his condition—allowing the cancer to grow for two years. Even worse, the doctor later changed Joe’s medical records to cover up his mistakes. Joe's Story #18 
Loretta (June 9, 2023) - Loretta, a wife and mother of four children, complained to her OB about lumps in her breasts at two annual checkups. The cancer inside of Loretta grew as her doctor dismissed her complaints. Finally, a year later, tests revealed breast cancer. Despite radical surgery, Loretta’s days with her family are dwindling. Her last days will be filled with debilitating pain because the cancer has spread through her body and to her brain. Because of her doctor’s negligence, Loretta will never see her children grow up. Loretta's Story #17
Caitlyn (June 2, 2023) - Tiny Caitlyn suffered severe brain damage as a result of oxygen deprivation during her birth. The obstetrician delivering Caitlyn did not recognize that she was in serious fetal distress. At age six, Caitlyn is profoundly disabled and cannot walk or talk. Caitlyn's Story #16
Marlaina (May 26, 2023) - Eight-year-old Marlaina kept getting sicker and sicker as ammonia built up in her bloodstream. Her condition was treatable, but a key test to investigate the metabolic disorder that Marlaina had was never performed. The test was done too late for Marlaina, who died a slow
and agonizing death.
Marlaina's Story #15
Johnny (May 19, 2023) - died as a result of severe dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea. Johnny’s mother brought him to the hospital emergency room in plenty of time, but his abnormal vital signs and
condition were ignored. Johnny and his mom were forced to wait for almost three hours. Help in the form of a simple IV was less than 50 feet away.
Johnny's Story #14
Madeline (May 12, 2023) - was forced to undergo unnecessary exploratory surgery to remove a critical part of her small intestine. Her doctors then operated at least four more times--all to correct a problem caused by the unnecessary surgery--taking out over 18 feet of her small intestine. The surgeries nearly cost Madeline her life and have left her to be tube-fed for the remainder of her life. Madeline's Story #13
Paula (May 5, 2023) - underwent cosmetic surgery to correct a breast deformity. She could not know that the doctor recommended to her was ill-qualified for the job. As a result of numerous mistakes by this doctor, Paula was left permanently scarred. Paula's Story #12
Charles (April 28, 2023) - was misdiagnosed with cancer and underwent needless radition treatments that caused permanent physical damage and left him confined to a wheelchair. After switching hospitals, Charles was told that he never had cancer at all. Charles' Story #11
Kaitylnn (April 21, 2023) Kaitlynn's Story #10
Kathleen (April 7, 2023) - Kathleen #8
Bill (March 31, 2023) - Bill's Story #7
Ellen (March 24, 2023) - Ellen's Story #6
Monica (March 17, 2023) - Monica's Story #5
Shirley (March 10, 2003) - Shirley's Story #4
Janet (March 3, 2023) - Janet's Story #3
Fuzzy (February 24, 2023) - Fuzzy's Story #2
Heather (February 10, 2023) - Heather's Story #1

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