Windsor woman wins record $3.8 million jury award

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- It's the largest jury verdict in the history of Larimer County.

A Denver-based insurance company pays out $3.8 million to a Windsor woman who ended up paralyzed after a medical mistake.

In Dec. 2006, Krissy Myatt's family brought her to the emergency room at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins.

She had the worst headache of her life and was dizzy and disoriented.

An E.R. doctor thought she just had a migraine and sent her home two hours later.

But attorney David Woodruff says Myatt had a small brain bleed that led to a massive stroke which has completely changed her life.

"Can you hold it and I'll open it?" asks Myatt of her 11-year-old son Jaden, about a jar of sugar.

It's been a hard adjustment for the 39-year-old mother of two.

"My life isn't anything like it was before. I was snowboarding and skiing two weeks before my stroke," I was very active. I did everything. Now I don't. I just don't," she says.

A massive stroke affected the function on her body's right side.

"Right now, I can't use my right arm at all. It just kind of hangs there, unless I do something with it," she says picking up her right arm with her left.

She also says she can't bend her right knee. So she essentially uses it as a crutch to walk--which she does very slowly and for not very far.

Her family helps her accomplish everyday tasks you and I take for granted.

"If you love someone and can help them, you just do it. She's my best friend. What happened to her not happen to anybody," says her husband Shannon.

What happened to her was a medical mistake by now-retired doctor Jeffrey Updegraff who sent her home without running any tests.

Twelve hours later, she suffered a severe stroke.

"She was experiencing was small bleed in her head that could have been treated if they caught it. And it's an easy thing to diagnose."

The family sued the doctor, but his malpractice insurance company COPIC, fought a settlement.

"We expressed willingness to settle the case and not go to trial. They showed up and offered zero, not a single penny. And they insisted we will never offer you any money," says Woodruff.

But a jury made COPIC pay out five-and-a-half times more than the $700,000 Krissy would have accepted.

"Very relieved it's finally over. We don't have to worry about losing everything which was certainly a fear," says Shannon.

"The jury saw the truth. They saw through it all," says Krissy.

But money won't bring back what Krissy and her family lost.

"If we had to do it all over again, we'd take her health in a heartbeat," says Shannon.

COPIC's attorney, Mark Fogg, told me they fought the suit because they believed their doctor provided the appropriate standard of care.

They also believed Krissy's brain bleed started after she left the hospital.

A jury, obviously, did not feel the same.

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