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Court upholds jury's $20 million award

Nov. 14, 2010 at 3:44 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania court has upheld a jury's award of more than $20 million in the case of a teenager who died after a liposuction procedure, authorities said.

The award, which included $15 million in punitive damages, had been appealed by Richard P. Glunk, a plastic surgeon in King of Prussia, Pa., The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

Amy Fledderman, an 18-year-old Pennsylvania State freshman, died on May 25, 2001, two days after she suffered complications during surgery at Glunk's office to remove fat from her stomach and chin.

A three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld an award of $2 million in damages to Fledderman's mother, Colleen, for the emotional distress of watching helpless as Glunk refused to send her daughter to a hospital for 2-1/2 hours.

It also held that the $15 million in punitive damages was not excessive.

"Dr. Glunk ignored both the warning signs of a medical emergency and a mother's desperate pleas for transfer to a hospital," the appeals court opinion said.

The court also agreed evidence Glunk's facility was not properly licensed had been properly introduced.

It was not clear whether Glunk and a co-defendant, the nurse anesthetist who assisted Glunk, would appeal to the state Supreme Court, the Inquirer said.

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