A Washington State Superior Court jury awarded $40.1 million, including $8.35 million in punitive damages, to Paramjit Singh who had to undergo a heart transplant because his was so badly damaged by a defective machine during an operation. The incident in question happened in October 2004, when Singh checked into Providence Everett Medical Center for cardiac bypass surgery. A monitor manufactured by Edwards Lifesciences Corp. malfunctioned causing a catheter to overheat and burn Singh’s heart. Singh’s lawyers also claim he now suffers other problems due to the faulty operation and anti-rejection drugs he must now take.
The lawyers for Edwards Lifesciences Corp. do not believe the award for punitive damages will withstand the scrutiny of the higher court when they appeal since this was the only reported incident of a faulty machine and the issue since then has been rectified. Edwards blames the Medical Center for the injury, claiming the staff used a damaged cable. The jury, however, did not see the Medical Center as the ones to blame and asked it to pay only .01% of the $40.1 million in damages.