The parents of a man who developed a crippling condition after a misdiagnosis were awarded $2.88 million for his suffering and wrongful death — the largest jury award in a Johnson County malpractice case in more than a quarter century.
A pain doctor at an Overland Park, Kan., clinic either overlooked back swelling or paid no heed to it when he gave Joe Burnette a steroid injection, the Johnson County jury decided, and Burnette went on to develop meningitis and a painful and crippling nerve condition in his spine. Vernon and Gail Burnette of Gladstone contended that the suffering their son endured caused him to take his own life in February 2013.
Even if the jury award stands, Burnette’s parents won’t collect the full amount. By Kansas law, non-economic damages, so-called pain and suffering awards, are capped at $250,000. That means the Burnettes’ award can be no higher than about $1.67 million.