An Arizona couple recently won $16.5 million in a medical malpractice case against a Southern California neurosurgeon who was found negligent in his treatment of Trent Hughes, a man who was injured while off-roading in 2003. Specifically, Hughes suffered a fractured spine and was airlifted to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California, where Doctor Christopher Pham was on call. The Hughes’ attorneys argued that Dr. Pham was required to report to the hospital within 20 minutes of the phone call. Unfortunately, Dr. Pham did not attend to Hughes until the next day and surgery was delayed for two days after the injury occurred. By that time, the damage was already done and Hughes was ultimately left a paraplegic.
Prior to his catastrophic injury and poor treatment, Hughes was an owner of a Phoenix, Arizona air-conditioning company. Thus, Hughes and his wife sued for past and future lost earnings, as well as medical costs, and pain and suffering. They also maintain that they “never received an adequate explanation of where (Pham) was and why he didn’t come, though he did maintain he was present.” Moreover, the Hughes’ attorneys also argued that Dr. Pham attempted to cover his tracks by planting documents that made it appear as if he was present at the hospital when, in fact, he was not.
Despite the couple’s multi-million dollar verdict, one of the Hughes’ attorneys noted that the award would be reduced to $500,000 due to California law limiting the amounts awarded in medical malpractice suits.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.