Michael Beglin was awarded $9 million for the death of his 40-year-old wife, Jennifer Beglin, who suffered a hypoxic brain injury during a routine colon surgery at University Medical Center in Louisville. The University Medical Center made clearly negligent mistakes, resulting in the tragic and unnecessary loss of a wife and mother.
Jennifer Beglin was taken back for a routine colon operation at University Medical Center. When she was unable to clot during the surgery, she began to loose blood. The medical team attending to her ordered blood from the trauma center, which was just a floor below, but failed to order it STAT, so the blood did not arrive immediately as was necessary. The medical team placed a total of 12 calls to the trauma center, but by the time blood did arrive, Beglin had already suffered a hypoxic brain injury. The brain injury put her in a coma with no brain activity for 3 months, until her husband made the decision to disconnect life support.
How Much Was Awarded and Why?
The breakdown of the settlement awarded in this wrongful death suit is important to understand. Kentucky awarded the Beglin family:
- $1,922,102 for Jennifer’s inability to work and provide the family with future income
- $367,358.09 to cover Jennifer’s medical expenses
- $7,543 for Jennifer’s funeral expenses
- $3,000,000 for the loss of parental consortium that Jennifer’s children experienced following their mother’s death
- $3,750,000 in punitive damages
The total damage award in the Beglin case was $9,047, 003.09. The greatest amount of compensatory damages that were awarded to the family were not medical expenses nor lost future wages — they were punitive damages. Kentucky courts determined that University Medical Center was significantly negligent in their actions and not only needed to pay for the direct expenses that they caused, but also needed to pay additional penalties for the gravity of their mistake.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are specifically for the purpose of “punishing” an entity, such as a hospital, after gross negligence or wrongdoing. In the Beglin case, the medical team that attended to her during surgery made an egregious error when they failed to obtain her replacement blood in time from a trauma center that was literally just downstairs from the operating room. Punitive damages are meant to ensure that an entity cannot negligently cause someone’s death without being held responsible for their mistakes.
Getting the Justice Your Loved One Deserves
If you have lost a loved one as the result of a wrongful death, the first step is to discuss your legal options with an attorney. The amount of compensation awarded for funeral and medical expenses is capped, meaning that the entity who is responsible for your loved one’s passing will not be ordered by a court to pay more than that amount for those losses. However, their gross negligence that caused your loved one’s death should receive the maximum punishment for their actions. With adequate legal assistance, you can petition the court to ensure that justice is served for your loved one.
At Sarkisian Law Offices, we have experience working with families during a wrongful death suit and can zealously advocate for your loved one to be vindicated through the legal and financial penalization of the entity responsible for their death. Call today at (219) 942-7171 or (219) 477-3998.