03 Jun Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Patient’s Amendment
By Order entered May 8, 2018, Newport News Circuit Court granted Plaintiff Second Motion for Leave to Amend in the nursing home case of Davis v. Virginia Health Services, Inc., No. CL703550F-15. Progressively, Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint in Davis v. VHS delineates separate survival personal injury claims for the victim patient’s first two non-fatal falls and a separate wrongful death claim for the victim patient’s third final fall – with each such claim coupled with a separate claim for $350,000.00 in punitive damag3es and subject to a separate damages “cap” under Virginia’s Medical Malpractice Act, Va. Code §8.01-581.1, et. seq. Although the compensatory damages for each non-fatal patient fall in Davis (as in most other similar medical malpractice cases) stands to be modest, the punitive or exemplary damage claims they can support are quite substantial by comparison, which is particularly significant in nursing home cases that typically involve sickly elderly patients with limited life expectancy quantitatively and qualitatively. Historically, medical malpractice suits simply have lumped discrete breaches and injuries into a single damages claim subject to a single “cap”.