MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court will decide whether a woman should receive a $25.3 million jury awarded her after she had four limbs amputated as a result of medical malpractice.
The state Supreme Court will see Ascaris Mayo's case Thursday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported . Mayo's limbs were amputated in 2011 after she went into septic shock when doctors at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital didn't diagnose her Strep A infection.
"Her sepsis went unchecked, resulting in a 'medical tsunami' making nearly every organ fail and causing dry gangrene in her extremities," wrote Susan Tyndall, Mayo's attorney.
About $16.5 million of the 2014 Milwaukee County jury award is for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering as well as loss of companionship. The remainder of the award is considered economic damages, such as medical expenses.
The jury didn't find negligence but ruled the doctors failed to tell her about the availability of antibiotics, Tyndall said.
The Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund and other defendants have argued that Mayo's non-economic damages should be capped at $750,000, which is the state limit for medical malpractice. They said maintaining the state's $1.4 billion insurance fund relies on the cap enforcement.
"The cap is an integral part of a comprehensive and carefully balanced system the Legislature began constructing in 1975 to ensure the affordability and availability of quality health care," wrote Kevin St. John, the fund's attorney.
Mayo has argued the cap is unconstitutional and that it punishes the patients who are injured most severely.
Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Conen previously upheld the cap's overall constitutionality, but he said the cap was unconstitutional in Mayo's case and ruled she should receive the full amount. A state appellate court ruled the cap unconstitutional last year.