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MN man paralyzed during surgery awarded $9.1 million in malpractice case

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A Minnesota man who was paralyzed after surgery at a Twin Cities hospital has won a $9.1 million malpractice lawsuit he filed against the anesthesiologist.

The award is one of the largest medical malpractice verdicts in Minnesota in recent years, according to the Star Tribune.

Joseph Lakoskey, 51, a former auto mechanic, underwent surgery at North Memorial Medical Center in Minneapolis in February 2012 to repair a perforated bowel, according to a news release from the Robins Kaplan law firm that represents him.

Lakoskey went to the hospital with flu-like symptoms and was given fluids because he was severely dehydrated. Once his physicians determined he needed surgery, the anesthesiologist stopped the hydration therapy before administering the anesthesia, the lawsuit alleged.

Because of that, Lakoskey's blood pressure was very low during surgery and caused a lack of blood flow to his spinal cord. As a result, his spinal cord was permanently damaged and he is paralyzed from the waist down, according to the lawsuit.

A Hennepin County jury heard arguments in the case in a nine-day trial earlier this month, and agreed with Lakoskey that the anesthesiologist's negligence caused his injury, according to attorneys.

The jury ruled that Anesthesiology P.A., a private practice that provides services at the hospital, must pay him damages of $9.1 million.

"Joe Lakoskey wants nothing more than to have his life and ability to walk back,” said Brandon Thompson, Lakoskey's attorney at Robins Kaplan, said in the news release. “This verdict will provide him with the resources he needs to live as independent a life as possible."

During the trial, attorneys for Anesthesiology P.A. denied the allegation that their client's action was the cause of Lakoskey's injury, according to the Star Tribune. It's not clear whether the practice will appeal the verdict.

Lakoskey told the newspaper he plans to use the settlement money to buy a new wheelchair and resume physical therapy in hopes of regaining some use of his legs.

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