Henalori McGee was a 48 year old mother of 2 and a resident of Palm Beach County who was visiting Disney World with her family. While in her hotel room, she developed severe stomach pain which required that she be taken to a hospital for treatment in the emergency room. When she arrived at Sand Lake Hospital the nurse determined that she had abnormal vital signs and was in severe distress. Despite these symptoms, Mrs. McGee was left to lay in the emergency room untreated for a half-hour until she was seen by a physician’s assistant. At this point she was noted to be in severe distress. The physician’s assistant diagnosed a possible kidney stone or appendicitis. The physican’s assistant did not order any diagnostic tests to determine the nature and extent of Mrs. McGee’s problem.
Blood work was ordered and showed that Mrs. McGee was suffering from internal bleeding. Unfortunately none of the emergency room personnel bothered to look at the blood results until 45 minutes after they were available. Even after the staff knew of the blood results, she continued to lay in the emergency room without treatment until she was found to be in full cardiac arrest approximately 45 minutes later.
Eventually doctors were able to revive Mrs. McGee and stabilize her. Unfortunately, she suffered irreparable brain damage as a result of the delay in her treatment leaving her confined to a wheelchair and unable to perform even the simplest activities of daily living. Despite her physical limitations, Mrs. McGee is aware of her situation and has become a prisoner in her own body.
After a two week jury trial, the jury found that the actions of the emergency room doctor and staff demonstrated a reckless disregard for the health and life of Mrs. McGee and awarded her and her family $78,500,000. At the time, this verdict was the largest ever rendered for a single medical malpractice victim in the State of Florida.