Anesthesiologists’ Mistake Leads to Brain Injury and $17.5 Million Malpractice Verdict June 11, 2013.
Sheriod Merritt was leaving a southern Walmart when a stray bullet struck his jaw. Though the wound was not life-threatening, the 24-year-old father left the hospital with brain damage.
A hospital spokeswoman told a local news station that "Merritt violently awoke from anesthesia and fought with medical personnel. In the process, … his breathing tube came dislodged."
More specifically, says the medical malpractice law firm handling the case, doctors proceeded to operate on Merritt’s jaw two days after the shooting despite the fact his airway was still swollen and obstructed. The anesthesia team then failed to follow the customary extubation plan, and Merritt became "uncontrollable," turned on his side, and yanked out his breathing tube. He suffered the brain injury while deprived of oxygen for 7 to 8 minutes as doctors attempted to reintubate his swollen airway.
"[Merritt’s] combative behavior was foreseeable and if the anesthesiologists followed their own [extubation] plan, Sheriod would have been fine," said one attorney.
Instead, he’s unable to talk, walk, or play with his son.
"I love you, Dad," was the last thing Sheriod Merritt said to his father, Patrick, before being rolled into the operating room.
A jury deliberated nearly two days before reaching the $17.5 million verdict.
Below, Cleveland brain injury attorney Chris Mellino discusses whether you can sue an Ohio doctor for medical malpractice if you are partly at fault for your brain injury.