RAO Davao City

United States Military Retiree Activities Office Davao City, Philippines

AFB CLINIC MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT August 29, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on August 29th, 2008

On 21 AUG a U.S. District Court Judge awarded an Air Force couple $7.5 million for a malpractice case against the Andersen Air Force Base family clinic. An Air Force wife visited the Andersen Air Force Base family clinic several years ago, complaining of numbness in her groin. The numbness was an early sign of a serious neurological disorder that base medical personnel failed to properly diagnose and treat, according to Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood. The judge awarded $7.5 million to Deborah Rutledge and her husband, Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Rutledge, after agreeing that government employees at the clinic “were repeatedly negligent” in providing medical treatment to Deborah Rutledge, who suffers from Cauda Aquina Syndrome. She suffers from permanent neurological injuries, including numbness, dysfunction and paralyzing pain, according to the court. She can’t sit normally or walk for an extended period of time without pain. According to the judge’s ruling, clinic personnel failed to properly treat Deborah Rutledge during several visits to the clinic, in JUL and AUG 04. She wasn’t properly diagnosed until she visited Naval Hospital and was medically evacuated to Hawaii for treatment. Deborah Rutledge never was asked to remove her clothing for some of the examinations at the Andersen clinic, documents state, and one examination was performed by an improperly supervised physician’s assistant, who Rutledge mistakenly believed to be a doctor. Tydingco-Gatewood awarded Deborah Rutledge $6.9 million, including compensation for pain and suffering, and her husband $592,000 for “loss of consortium. [Source: Pacific Daily News Steve Limtiaco article 22mAug 08 ++]

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