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Medical malpractice insurer wins coverage case against surgery center

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld a ruling in favor of a medical malpractice insurer.

The ruling was for not settling a case that led to a $5.17 million verdict against a surgery center in litigation filed by a woman who was left a quadriplegic.

In the case a physician performed outpatient surgery on the woman in November 2002.

According to the ruling, she was discharged by Surgery Center's anesthesiologist and checked into hospital four days later with a perforated bowel, which later rendered her a quadriplegic.

She sued the physician and Surgery Center for medical malpractice, and the physician's insurer settled the case for the physician’s policy limit of $1 million.

The center's insurer, American Physicians Assurance and American Physicians Capital — collectively APA — refused to settle the case for its policy's $1 million limit and it went to trial.

A jury ruled in favor of the patient for $5.17 and the surgery center's president, Guita Griffiths, settled for $2.25 million, of which APA paid its $1 million insurance limit.

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