Woman awarded $10 million from hospital

By John O'Brien | Sep 7, 2006

MORGANTOWN - A Morgantown woman who blamed Ruby Memorial Hospital for an infection she sustained after knee surgery was awarded $10 million in general damages.

On Sept. 5, the jury in the case added almost $85,000 in compensatory damages for medical expenses to Allison Riggs, who was 14 years old she underwent surgery at the Morgantown hospital.

She argued that the operation led to an infection that required seven additional surgeries. Ruby Memorial is operated by West Virginia University Hospitals.

Ruby Memorial plans to file post-trial motions requesting Monongalia Circuit Judge Robert B. Stone to set aside the verdict because it exceeds the states' $1 million cap on non-economic damages.

Riggs claims to have suffered from a serratia bacterial infection inside her knee during the operation. She adds that it took four ears for it to eat its way out of her knee and was discovered when doctors noticed the hardware installed in the knee had floated to her thigh.

Riggs was represented by Paul Farrell Jr. of Huntington. He works with the Greene Ketchum law firm.

Farrell also argued that Ruby did not inform potential patients of epidemics it experienced from 1991-1993.

The trial began Aug. 22.

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