A woman with severe brain damage and her family have won a $16.6 million verdict against the Flint, Mich., hospital that kept the woman alive on life support against the family's wishes.
Brenda Young, who spent seven weeks in a coma after a seizure in 1992, was awarded $15.4 million. Her mother, Ramona Osgood, was awarded $1.1 million for mental anguish and past expenses for care. Young's daughter, Chastity, was given $100,000 for mental anguish.
Young was rushed to the emergency room at St. Joseph Hospital, now Genesys Regional Medical Center-St. Joseph Campus, on Feb. 3, 1992, after having the seizure. She was discharged about two months later after emerging from the coma and is confined mostly to her bed. She must be bathed, fed and diapered.
The family sued the hospital in 1994. Osgood said she repeatedly told physicians that her daughter didn't want to be on life support. Hospital officials say the family approved Young's care.
Genesys Health System President Young S. Suh told the Flint Journal that the verdict may force it and other hospitals to rethink some of their procedures.
"It raises some serious questions as to how we should treat the patient in any given situation," Suh said.
A Genesee County jury deliberated for five hours before returning its verdict Feb. 16.