A jury has awarded $10.5 million to Carolyn Boerste who had to have her leg amputated after University of Louisville Hospital personnel left a sponge inside her during heart surgery years earlier.  Boerste was only 54 when she underwent bypass surgery in 2011 and nurses left an 18-by-18-inch sponge inside her.  The hospital failed to discover and then lied about it for years.  The verdict included $1 million in punitive damages and about $8 million for pain and suffering for Boerste. 

On March 10, 2011, Boerste underwent bypass surgery. The surgery successfully improved blood flow to the legs of Boerste, who was a diabetic. However, Dr. Marvin Morris, a vascular surgeon, inadvertently transected a renal vein, causing a “bloody mess” and a medical crisis.  The incident occurred just before lunch, and a nurse testified that nurses did not do a “lunch sponge count” required by hospital policy. Nurses viewed the policy as a “mere guideline” and not the “standard”.

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