Kelley Uustal Trial Attorney
May 21, 2013

Kelley | Uustal Attorneys Secure $38.5 Million for Client in Medical Negligence Case

Following a monthlong trial, a Broward County jury awarded over $28 million to our client who was left in a vegetative state after a controversial medical procedure.

In December 2008, Dale Whyte underwent a procedure called manipulation under anesthesia (MUA), in which a patient is sedated and a doctor or chiropractor performs various aggressive musculoskeletal stretches that would be impossible to do if the patient were awake.

Healthcare professionals have debated the risks and benefits of MUA for years. The American Chiropractic Association and the American Society of Anesthesiologists acknowledge it as a legitimate procedure, but many doctors are wary of it, especially considering how often it’s performed on patients who don’t need it and could be at risk of serious side effects. Insurance companies will only cover it in very specific cases, and generally consider full body manipulation (the type that Dale received) experimental, unproven, and unnecessary.

During Dale’s MUA, his vital signs suddenly dropped and he went into cardiac arrest. We filed suit on behalf of the Whyte family against Dale’s doctor, Dr. Basil Mangra, and the anesthesiologist in charge of monitoring him, Dr. Thomas Rodenberg. The suit claimed both doctors were negligent in their treatment of Dale, whom we did not believe qualified for the procedure in the first place.

The case went to trial in April 2013. The jury ruled against the defendant, and furthermore found them negligent by “clear and convincing evidence.” This is different from a great majority of medical malpractice cases in which defendants are typically found negligent by a “preponderance of the evidence”, which means most, but not all, of the evidence favored the plaintiff. Clear and convincing evidence is a much higher standard of proof and it’s one that could actually result in the doctors’ medical licenses being revoked [] in the state of Florida.

 Dale was awarded $23.5 million to cover his past and future medical expenses, as well as an additional $5 million for his pain and suffering. Dale’s two youngest daughters were awarded $5 million each. Unfortunately, because his oldest daughter was his fiancée’s from a previous marriage, and Dale never officially adopted her, she didn’t qualify for compensation. Coupled with the government assistance he receives, the $28 million will pay for Dale’s care for the rest of his life. And tragically, due to the extent of his injuries, he will most likely never be able to live without constant medical care and monitoring.

Original story on Sun Sentinel:

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