Medical Malpractice in Victims of Brain Injury after Traffic Accident: Puzzle over the Amount of Damages
The plaintiff A was sent to the defendant Hospital after a traffic accident, and emergent craniotomy was performed by the defendant doctor B to evacuate the epidural hematoma, and was transferred to ICU for postoperative care by defendant B, C, and D. The Glasgow Coma Scale fluctuated around 5-8 during the post-operative course and consequently A was transferred to Medical center where the Glasgow coma scale was 3 and subdural hematoma was diagnosed by CT. Emergent operation was done, yet A became hemiplegia and suffered from swallowing disturbance, and incontinence of urine and stool. The district court held that the defendants were liable since the intracranial pressure monitor device has not been applied intraoperatively, moreover the defendant failed to clinically monitor the possibility of developing “secondary brain injury” which constitute 60% of the plaintiff’s brain damage. However the decision varies in subsequent appeal courts and the supreme courts regarding the liability and the estimation of damages. Two authors comment on this case with special emphasis on the calculation of damages since should the defendants be liable, they were responsible for at most only 60% of the plaintiff’s brain injury, other than which, what we called “primary brain injury” should not be attributable to the fault of the defendants. Moreover disputes about the earnings in the lost years of the plaintiff and the survival year of the plaintiff herein and the vegetables are also discussed.