Indiana Jury Awards $11 Million in Landmark Medical Malpractice Case: Failure to Diagnose Led to Leg Amputation

Elkhart, Indiana – A Michigan man and his wife have been awarded over $11 million by an Indiana jury after accusing a doctor of failing to diagnose a painful limb issue that ultimately led to the amputation of the man’s leg. The couple filed a civil suit against Dr. James Shoemaker Jr., alleging that he failed to identify critical limb ischemia in Mychajlo Hajdaj’s right leg in January 2015. Critical limb ischemia refers to a blockage of the arteries in the lower extremities.

Denying the allegations, Dr. Shoemaker, Elkhart General Hospital, and Elkhart Emergency Physicians Inc. maintained their innocence. They pointed to the state Medical Review Panel’s unanimous decision, which concluded that the physicians had provided appropriate care. However, following a five-day trial, an Elkhart County jury ruled against Dr. Shoemaker and Elkhart Emergency Physicians Inc., granting $6.2 million to Mychajlo Hajdaj and $5 million to his wife, Lidia.

The amputation forced Hajdaj, who was 72 at the time, to cease working and adopt a more sedentary lifestyle. The couple from Cassopolis, Michigan, argued that the delayed treatment caused by the alleged failure to diagnose had significant negative repercussions for Hajdaj’s quality of life. During the trial, 81-year-old Mr. Hajdaj even testified that he would not trade his leg for $10 million, underlining the profound impact the amputation had on him.

Nick Otis, the attorney representing the couple, shared their satisfaction with the outcome. Meanwhile, an attorney representing Dr. Shoemaker and Elkhart Emergency Physicians Inc. did not immediately provide a comment regarding the jury’s decision.

This case highlights the crucial role of accurate and timely medical diagnoses in preventing severe medical conditions. The jury’s ruling not only addresses the personal and financial consequences suffered by Hajdaj and his wife but also emphasizes the healthcare providers’ responsibility in accurately identifying and treating patients’ conditions. It remains to be seen if this verdict will prompt increased scrutiny on proper diagnosis procedures and potentially impact future medical malpractice cases.