Widow Awarded $8.5M in California Malpractice Case

August 12, 2008

A jury has awarded $8.5 million to the widow of a Modesto, Calif., man who died on the day a surgeon was going to discharge him from the hospital.

Because of medical malpractice limits, 38-year-old Holly Stinnett likely will receive only $1.6 million of that amount.

Stinnett’s husband, 49-year-old Stanley Stinnett, broke six ribs in a motorcycle accident in 2002.

Holly Stinnett’s attorney argued last week in Stanislaus County Superior Court that Dr. Tony Tam should have more closely monitored Stinnett. X-rays showed he had one gallon of liquid backed up in his stomach four hours before he died, and he had previously been resuscitated.

Stanley Stinnett died in Memorial Medical Center after choking on his own vomit. The hospital settled earlier for $175,000.

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