So there was an article… in the paper… on-line… maybe in a magazine… but the injustice of it really stuck with me. It has been a few years back, but I recall the details with extreme vividness.
On a clear sunny afternoon, a middle-aged married father took his Harley out for a pleasant ride. It started out like many others had in the past, uneventful, stress relieving, has he wound his way through the countryside. Over small hills and around some tight curves, with the wind in his face. This was one of the few pleasures he could enjoy alone before heading back to his office the next morning.
Suddenly, as he rounded a curve, the unthinkable occurred. Out of nowhere, a small child was standing in his path. As another vehicle approached from the opposite direction, he had only a split-second to react. He laid the heavy bike down pinning his leg underneath as he slid down the road.
It was brutal. He skidded along the pavement as he felt his leg being torn away underneath the weight of the massive bike. But thankfully, when it was over, the child was safe. The bike suffered minimal damage, but the same could not be said for him.
He was rushed to a local hospital where doctors stabilized him after a massive loss of blood from his leg injury. Once they felt it was safe, he was airlifted to a larger trauma hospital where a determination could be made on the fate of his leg.
Several days passed. Small infections appeared, but he was able to fend them off with the antibiotics. Finally, a major infection set in and grew worse until the sad decision was made to remove the leg at the hip.
He was devastated to say the least. The memories of his active lifestyle flooded into his mind… football, tennis, skiing, chasing his children, but when he considered the alternative, his children not having a father, he realized that it had to be done.
Wheeled into the OR the next morning, the surgeon assured him that it was a fairly routine procedure and that he would be in and out in a short time. He recalled how calm he felt as the drugs started to take effect.
His next conscious thought was awakening in his hospital room. His wife was there, her eyes red and puffy from many tears. His surgeon was there as well… along with some others from the hospital. But they were in suits… the administrator, a legal counsel.
Something had gone wrong in the OR. Prior to the surgery, a careless staff member, someone not thinking, they admitted liability immediately… but a mistake had been made. A serious mistake. Rather than amputating his mangled, infected leg, they had mistakenly amputated his healthy GOOD leg.
They were sorry for the mistake. It could happen to anyone. They were sorry. SORRY! That’s all they could come up with. They were sorry. Another surgery was quickly scheduled to remove the mangled, infected leg.
Several months later, sitting in a courtroom, he listened to the closing arguments of the attorneys as they each tried to out-speak the other before the judge. His doctor had performed literally thousands of surgeries over the years saving countless lives. Never before had he been faced with such a situation as this.
His attorney countered that even one mistake, especially one of this magnitude, could not go unpunished. He spoke of the lifestyle he had maintained and how it now, for the most part, was over.
After arguing back and forth, the jury received the case and retired to deliberate. No one expected it to take long. The facts were very clear. Liability had been admitted from the onset. And true to form, the jury was back with a decision in near record time.
As the jury foreman rose to read the verdict, a complete hush fell over the courtroom. And a collective gasp of disbelief rushed from every open mouth as he clearly and without emotion rendered a verdict of not guilty.
Not guilty. The doctor and hospital were off the hook. So after suffering through the horror of the accident, having his good leg amputated, and then the mangled leg removed, the jury reached the conclusion that he didn’t have a leg to stand on.
And that’s MY take.