$4.25 Million Medical Malpractice Award for Goshen Couple
A lawsuit that originated in June of 2011 has been settled after a bench trial in the Elkhart Circuit Court. Judge Terry Shewmaker heard the bench trial and in a ruling issued July 15, Shewmaker ordered Dunlap Occupational Health and Urgent Care Center and Schlabach to pay a total of $4.25 million to Lehman. The judge also ordered the defendants to pay $450,000 to Lehman’s wife, Marla Lehman, for damages incurred by her.
Robert Lehman went to Dunlap Urgent Care Center in 2005 after he was injured at his workplace, according to court files. Employees at the clinic administered a shot and a prescription to Lehman and sent him back to work.
After that, Lehman’s condition worsened to the point that he could barely walk by the time he returned to the clinic. During his second visit he was examined by Dr. Jay Schlabach, who sent Lehman back to work a second time with an additional pain medication.
Lehman ended up going to the emergency room at IU Health Goshen Hospital, where he as diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome, a rare disorder in which something compresses on the spinal nerve roots. The condition requires fast treatment to prevent lasting damage.
Although the limit for a medical malpractice case in Indiana is $1.25 million dollars, the judge in this case noted that Lehman's injuries were "catastrophic" and warrant the large award. The defendants are likely to appeal and try to have this award reduced.