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Litigation Funding Blog

A Leak in Melodie Dickerson’s Bowels Leads to Permanent Care for Life

November 20, 2015

A $7.5 million jury award, slashed to $3.5 million due to capping, goes to Melodie Dickerson for a leaking hole in her bowel left after colon surgery.

The trial took two weeks from start to finish and the jury handed down a very large medical malpractice award of $7.5 million, a figure that is to be reduced to $3.5 million due to capping. Lawsuit caps may only be overridden if a jury finds a physician was grossly negligent, acted with malice when the patient was harmed, reckless or acted fraudulently.

Her lawsuit was filed against surgeon Andrew Morfesis of the Owen Drive Surgical Clinic in Fayetteville, alleging he left her with a leaking hole in her bowels, caused during colon surgery in 2010.

Dickerson was extremely ill after the initial surgery, being plagued by recurring and severe infections, eventually tracked back to a hole in her bowel. She remained in hospital for over four months, enduring three more operations and a six-week coma. She now requires care for the rest of her life. She alleges the surgeon and doctor in charge of her aftercare, Dr. Kelly Marie Van Fossen, were negligent.

The defendants insisted at trial that Dickerson’s ill health was a result of other causes and the leak had developed later, not due to a mistake made during the initial operation. They further stated they had saved Dickerson’s life in the face of inherent health risks. The jury disagreed and found them negligent, but not reckless. The award was $3.24 million to cover hospital and other expenses and losses, an extra $4 million representing non-economic damages and $300,000 for her husband’s loss of consortium.

While waiting for the trial to take place, the Dickerson family may have approached a litigation funding company to apply for a lawsuit loan to keep them financially stable until their case was heard. Pre-settlement funding is an emergency lawsuit loan sent to a qualified plaintiff, working with an attorney. The attorney and plaintiff work as partners to provide information to the litigation funding company.

Applying for a lawsuit loan is user friendly, easily done online or by phone, and the representatives are highly trained to assist applicants. Many plaintiffs in dire financial circumstances have found applying for pre-settlement funding helped them pay off their medical expenses right away and wait while an attorney was assembling a court case.

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