A Brown County jury awarded the survivors of a deceased farm worker $3.7 million Friday in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Gustavo Espinal-Santos died Jan. 1, 2004, after contracting blastomycosis, a fungal infection often transmitted through water or soil.
James Sickel of Hinkfuss Sickel Petitjean & Wieting said Espinal-Santos twice visited the Bellin Family Medical Center in Bonduel in December 2003 complaining of illness. Sickel said Espinal-Santos was seen by physician assistants who determined he had pneumonia. He said they failed to run basic diagnostic tests, specifically X-rays..
He was admitted to St. Vincent Hospital on Dec. 23, 2003, and diagnosed with blastomycosis, but too late to save his life, Sickel said.
After a four-day trial and about eight hours of deliberation, the jury found Bellin Health System and Dr. Peri Aldrich, who was responsible for overseeing the physician assistants, were negligent.
Sickel said the award will be reduced because of award caps in Wisconsin law.
Espinal-Santos’ survivors include his wife, Maria Zavala McDaniel, and daughters Maria Espinal-Zavala, 10, and Anna Sophia Espinal, 5.
Bellin Health issued a statement Friday on the verdict.
“Foremost, Bellin Health wishes to express our empathy to the Santos family. It is difficult any time you lose a family member. Bellin Health is obviously disappointed with the verdict and believes the care provided was appropriate and followed established medical protocols. We are now determining what, if any, other action will be taken in this matter. Out of respect for the privacy of the family, we will have no further public comment.”