Dawana Amaker’s pregnancy started out well, but ended tragically. For 6 months, her baby grew normally. But then, growth slowed and eventually stopped. One HMO doctor noticed the problem and ordered testing. But, as often happens in HMOs, Dawana was passed to a different doctor who misread one test, and also missed that a second more important test was never done. Had these different HMO doctors not dropped the ball, Arman would be normal. Instead he is forever wheelchair bound with severe debilitating handicaps.
As usual, the HMO refused to admit wrongdoing. They insisted the case be settled for only a few hundred thousand dollars – not enough to provide proper care. They claimed the case (really Arman’s life) “is worth no more.” They promised their two million dollars of local HMO insurance coverage “will never be offered.” We knew that a large Chicago based insurance company had “excess insurance coverage” that could, combined with the local coverage provide proper care for Arman’s devastated life. Our demand was that the HMO choose either to GO TO TRIAL, or offer their full two million and instruct the Chicago company to add more. As any good military general knows, nothing is won at the peace table that cannot be won on the battlefield. Unless you convince the enemy that they will lose the battle, they are not likely to seek peace.
So, we prepared to do battle for Arman. On the day that we were to meet our jury (and begin our battle), we instead met the insurance man from Chicago who suggested that perhaps we should discuss peace before we begin the battle. With the HMO’s $2 million now on the table, and about twice that amount from Chicago insurance man, the case was settled for slightly less than $6 million. Arman was not given back the life he should have had. We can never give someone back his or her health. But, at least Arman is now well cared for. We are proud of what we were able to do for Arman.