Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Even The Man Was Shocked

As a long time defender of the Man and maintainer of the status quo, I am inclined to find for defendants in civil cases where others would cry and ask "how much did she ask for again?"

This week I realized that I may not be as tough as I thought.

In Atlanta, a woman sued a doctor who extracted her 5 month term miscarried baby. It seems that after he finished, he had forgotten something. Nothing important mind you -- just the baby's head. It dropped out a few days later while the patient was sitting on the john.

Now, I'm not saying I would award this lady lots of money. She wasn't injured except emotionally, and I am not inclined generally to put lots of zeros after those types of awards. But I would award her something -- probably with 4 zeros. But given the facts of this case, the jurisdiction and an outstanding attorney for the plaintiff, I expected to see at least a six figure award.

Well, a Fulton County, Georgia jury, typically a liberal jurisdiction for personal injury awards, saw it differently. They nutted this woman's claim.

Now, again, I'm open to the concept negligence not always existing just because a mistake is made. He argued that the procedure was difficult because of the women's scarred uterus (she had 3 prior abortions, not mentioned in the article I cited but discussed in others I have read). But I'm having a hard time understanding this. The baby's thigh or torso, sure. That flesh all looks the same. The doctor isn't a puzzle maker. But the head? That is a fairly distinct looking part of the body. Doesn't someone look around at the pieces and say, "OK, do we have two hands, two arms, two feet, and some larger fleshy parts? Great. Is that all? Oh, anyone seen a head?"

The Man refused to comment, but he was heard giggling over the outcome.