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February 18, 2002 - Paralysis From Back Surgery Gets $ 2.5 Million

Fredrick Cooper, a cookie packer, was diagnosed with spinal chord impingement due to disk degeneration.

Cooper's HMO referred him to neurosurgeon Ralph Hagen, who performed surgery on him. Cooper awoke from the operation a quadriplegic. He brought a medical malpractice suit against Hagan, alleging that the paralysis was caused by blood pressing against his spinal chod at the surgical site.

After a first trial ended with a hung jury, in a second trial, the jury awarded Cooper $ 2.49 million for lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. However, the Dec. 5, 2001, award was reduced to $ 1.5 million by the trial judge to comply with Virginia's statutory cap on medical malpractice damages.

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