An Arkansas teen underwent brain surgery in August 2004, to end seizures he suffered, and doctors wrongfully operated on the wrong side of his brain, performing surgery on the left side of his brain for 4 hours before realizing the mistake. This error in surgery left the teen with brain injury, and he now lives in a rehabilitation center in Virginia. After a 3 week jury trial, the jury returned an unanimous verdict for $20 million.
The attorneys for the teen and his family had excellent photographic evidence of the mistake, as the Arkansas hospital had invited journalists from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a local newspaper, to photograph the surgery. Therefore, a photo existed showing the surgeons operating on the left side of the teen boy’s head. Apparently, after the mistake was discovered, the surgeons notified the hospital’s risk management team, but not the family, before beginning to operate on the right side of the brain. The family did not learn of the mistaken surgery until 15 months later. Now, the boy still suffers from seizures and must take more medicine than he did before the surgery.