Thursday, September 19

Jury awards siblings $1.75M in malpractice lawsuit with UCLA doctors


Deborah Larkin underwent a hiatal hernia repair surgery at Ronald Reagan Medical Center in November 2013.(Daily Bruin file photo)

Deborah Larkin underwent a hiatal hernia repair surgery at Ronald Reagan Medical Center in November 2013.(Daily Bruin file photo)


A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded $1.75 million on July 15 to two siblings who alleged UCLA doctors committed medical malpractice that resulted in the death of their mother.

Ryan and Jessica Larkin sued the Regents of the University of California in December 2014 for the death of their 44-year-old mother, Deborah Larkin. The plaintiff’s attorneys alleged Larkin’s doctors failed to diagnose and treat a stomach perforation during a hiatal hernia repair surgery in November 2013. Larkin’s condition did not improve over the next month and she died Dec. 27, 2013, according to the court papers.

Defense attorneys said the actions of Larkin’s doctors followed proper standards of medical care.

Gary Schneider, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said he thinks the defense will bring a motion to reduce the verdict to $250,000 due to state law. In 1975, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act into law, which placed a cap of $250,000 on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. Schneider said he thinks Judge Victor Chavez will have to grant the motion if raised.

Schneider said he thinks the cap is unfair to plaintiffs, adding that jurors were upset to learn about it after the verdict.

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Science & Health editor

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  • Eric Andrist

    My disabled sister died from medical negligence at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, the same place where our mother contracted sepsis and died after an elective surgery, and where actress Alicia Cole got flesh eating disease and nearly died. I sued the doctor in the case and while the settlement amount is confidential, the maximum we could get was $250,000 due to California’s MICRA law. The law was passed in 1974 and has never been raised to match inflation. Today the cap should be well over a million dollars. Why would anyone think it’s fair to pay the same amount today as you would have paid over 40 years ago?

    If the Republicans win the white house, they have promised to make this type of medical tort reform law happen in all the states….every state will have a $250,000 cap.