Jury awards $21M to family of woman who died after mistaken operation

Image 1 of 2

Bimla Nayyar

A surgeon drills holes into the skull of an elderly woman. The problem is,  it was the wrong operation, on the wrong patient.

Bimla Nayyar was a happy, healthy 81-year-old who went to Dearborn Oakwood Hospital in 2012 for a simple jaw procedure to seek some relief for her temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMJ.

But she never made it out alive.

As it turns out, doctors made a mistake and preformed a brain operation on the wrong patient, because the hospital staff put Bimla's name on the wrong X-ray form.

"They drilled five holes into her skull with the drill," said attorney Geoffrey Fieger. "They sawed the right side of her skull out of her head and poked around her brain and realized she's not the patient they thought she was. And after that she couldn't breathe on her own and she died in 60 days."

The belleville grandmother lingered on life support for two months.

Fieger says the family eventually got a phone call from the hospital which explained they misread the X-ray, but never truly explained what really happened.

"She died a horrible, horrible death and Oakwood hospital covered it up afterwards," Fieger said. "They never told the family they operated on the wrong patient."

A jury agreed to the tune of a $21 million verdict. FOX 2 reached out to family members for comment who requested their privacy.

Although Bimla died, Oakwood Hospital claimed at the trial they never did any damage to her. Fieger says Oakwood never reported its mistake to the state of Michigan and now he wants the Wayne County Prosecutor to go after those responsible with criminal charges.

"I am asking Kym Worthy, I have the evidence," Fieger said. "It is a crime in Michigan to write false and misleading medical records."

In an affidavit filed in court, Oakwood's patient safety officer said they did not breach the standard of care.

FOX 2 reached out to Oakwood Hospital which would only say "We are very concerned about how the details of the case have been portrayed. This matter will be appealed."

"If this was done by somebody with a hammer or hatchet instead of scalpal," Fieger said. "They would be in prison for murdering Bimla Nayyar."