SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–Nearly two years after a Springfield woman won an almost $30 million lawsuit, Mercy Hospital has been ordered to pay up.
26-year-old Emilee Williams sued Mercy for failing to intially diagnose her with Wilson’s Disease-a disorder that causes mental and physical disabilities that once bound her to a wheelchair.
$21 million is what Mercy Hospital will be forced to pay Emilee Williams for future medical expenses with another $7 million to go toward lost wages and other needs.
“She’s no longer going to be able to become a physical therapist. She was in physical therapy school when this happened,” says Williams’ attorney, Grant Rahmeyer.
Today she struggles to walk normally and suffers from emotional and mental issues. The court’s judgement means that now her family will be able to pay her lifetime of medical care.
“My parents were talking about working past the age of retirement, trying to keep her on their insurance. We were concerned about if she was going to lose medical insurance with her pre-existing condition,” says Williams’ sister, Alaina Williams.
The hospital wanted to pay Williams the $21 million over the course of 57 years, but the Missouri Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.
“‘What the legislature tried to do with the statue that we were appealing was to say that if a hospital or doctor does something to hurt you and if they cause future damages, for in this case 57 years, that they can delay paying you for 57 years and essentially discount that far below what the jury awarded,” says Rahmeyer.
The court’s ruling has been a long time in the making. Alaina Williams says her sister is still trying to process the magnitude of the decision.
“I think it’s kind of surreal. This has been something that’s been hanging over her head for so long,” says Alaina Williams.
While the court’s judgement is a win for Emilee Williams, her attorney says it’s not just about the money.
“It sends the message that everyone can be held responsible if you do something that’s careless and really hurt somebody,” says Rahmeyer.
Mercy Hospital released a statement saying, “Our prayers remain with Emilee and her family. Mercy continues to believe the care provided was appropriate and plans to file a motion for reconsideration.”