Indian-Origin Woman’s Family Gets No Compensation After Surgery Blunder in U.S.

Michigan Supreme Court has overturned an earlier verdict that awarded $20 million to the family of Bimla Nayyar who died following an unnecessary brain surgery.


The family members of Bimla Nayyar, an Indian-origin woman who died in 2012 following an unnecessary surgery, will get no money, the Michigan Supreme Court said in an order. It has overturned an earlier verdict that awarded $20 million to the family.

Nayyar, 81, from Belleville, Michigan was admitted to Oakwood Healthcare’s Dearborn hospital in January 2012 for a routine jaw realignment. The hospital erroneously placed Nayyar’s name on another patient’s x-ray records, leading to an unnecessary brain surgery being performed on her that killed her, the Washington Post reported. The hospital later conceded negligence.

Geoffrey Fieger, the attorney of the octogenarian’s estate, stated that the procedure was something that could have been done in a dentist’s chair, reported He added: “They took off the right side of her head and killed her.”

The family’s attorneys were criticized by the Michigan Supreme Court for arguing that Nayyar’s death was the result of an ordinary negligence. An ordinary negligence claim places no limits on the money that can be awarded to a claimant, reported Washington Post.

Chief Justice Stephen J Markman in the court order on Feb.7 said: “Plaintiff now has no negligence claim and no medical malpractice claim, all despite the fact that (a) defendant-hospital openly admitted negligence, (b) a jury determined that this negligence constituted the proximate cause of plaintiff’s death.”

He added that the decedent’s husband’s plaintive inquiry nonetheless resonates loudly whether it is possible in a just and fair world. “There is no satisfactory answer, in my judgment, only that further review of this matter might well be pursued in an appropriate action,” noted Markman.

A previous ruling on this case had disallowed the lawyers from following a claim of ordinary negligence. Rather, the lawyers should have argued medical malpractice, according to which the financial awards are limited, the order said. Since they did not argue medical malpractice, the award therefore had to be voided, as per the order.

Markman concurred that it was a huge blunder. “This case involves a remarkable confluence of what appears to be both medical and legal dereliction,” he noted adding that it resulted in an extraordinary miscarriage of justice.

“During the course of the trial, plaintiff’s attorneys repeatedly asserted that the claim being litigated was one for ordinary negligence, and they convinced the second trial court to enter a judgment that was unmoored from the statutory cap on damages applicable to a medical malpractice action,” said the Michigan Supreme Court order.

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