Laramie, Wy – A Park County jury has awarded almost
one-point-two million dollars to a Thermopolis man for a botched spinal surgery -- one of the state's largest medical malpractice jury awards in years.
Chad Ooten underwent surgery for a back injury in 2000. But, Doctor Stephen Emery in Cody removed the wrong cervical disc from Ooten's spine, requiring three follow-up operations.
On Tuesday, the jury awarded Ooten a total of one million dollars for economic and non-economic damages. His wife was given 175-thousand dollars.
Wyoming Medical Society president Doctor Robert Monger, of Cheyenne, criticized the verdict. He says it will increase malpractice insurance rates and make the state's doctor shortage even worse.
But Todd Hambrick, Ooten's attorney blamed the insurance industry, saying insurers rarely agree to settle even when the doctor clearly is at fault.