Banks v. Sunrise Hospital

102 P.3d 52 (2004)


Fifty-one-year-old P had rotator cuff surgery. The doctors involved had discussed the risks of surgery, and P signed an informed consent form that detailed the risks associated with surgery and with anesthesia. P suffered cardiac arrest during the surgery. P failed to regain consciousness and has since persisted in a permanent vegetative state. P, as guardian ad litem for James, brought negligence claims against Ds. P relied upon an affidavit of anesthesiologist Dr. Casey Blitt, who stated that Dr. Kinsman's care fell below the standard of care in that he failed to 'recognize, respond to and reverse decreasing blood pressure and pulse rate in the absence of blood loss,' and that he failed 'to use appropriate resuscitation protocol including, but not limited to, failure to use the appropriate drugs of choice in this setting.' The first jury trial resulted in a mistrial because of a hung jury. At the second trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of P, awarding $ 5,412,030.88 in damages, which totaled $6,903,044.61 after adding the prejudgment interest on the past damages. The district court subsequently reduced the jury award by the combined $ 1.9 million paid in settlement by Doctors Manning and Kinsman and entered a second amended judgment in the amount of $4,825,450.17. (The components included $124k for past pain and suffering, $124k for future pain and suffering, $1.25 million for past loss of enjoyment of life, $1.25 million for future loss of enjoyment of life.). D contends that the district court erred in permitting expert testimony concerning the monetary range of hedonic damages, i.e., loss of enjoyment of life damages.