Flesh Eating Bacteria Lawsuits: Jean Philips vs. US Air Force

Today in flesh eating bacteria lawsuits, we bring you the story of Jean Philips, the ex-wife of an Air Force officer who lost one of her arms after a military doctor misdiagnosed her flesh eating bacteria infection. The doctor thought it was a simple rash but it turned out to be necrotizing fasciitis.

From a 2009 story in Kansas Star:

Award in Flesh Eating Bacteria Case Largely Upheld
The ex-wife of an Air Force officer who lost her arm to flesh-eating bacteria should retain most of an $8.5 million award, a federal judge has ruled. Denying a request by Air Force officials to reduce the award by more than $1 million, Magistrate Judge Philip Frazier found that the plaintiff was entitled to $8.46 million of the original judgment. An Air Force base doctor initially misdiagnosed the necrotizing fasciitis as a harmless rash.

Attorney at Law has more details: A federal judge has upheld most of an $8.5 million award to the ex-wife of an Air Force officer who lost use of one of her arms to a flesh-eating virus that was misdiagnosed by a military doctor.

The woman, Jean Philips, sought treatment in 2002 from a physician at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where her then-husband, a captain, was stationed. Philips had developed a rash on her arm.

The physician, Dr. Dan MacAlpine, assumed that Philips was a drug addict looking for prescription drugs and told her to go home and take over-the-counter pain medication for the rash, which turned out to be necrotizing fasciitis, a condition also called flesh-eating bacteria. Philips eventually lost the use of her right arm.

Federal Magistrate Judge Philip Frazier upheld the bulk of the financial award to Philips but had previously trimmed $1.13 million from the award. The judge lowered damages covering Phillips’ past medical expenses by $62,748, settling on an $8.46 million payout.

Air Force attorneys said they are “looking at all options” in the case and may consider filing an appeal of the judge’s ruling upholding the financial award.