A former intelligence contractor for the US military, who lost her limbs, abdominal muscles and sections of her digestive organs following a botched surgery, has won a $109m (£76m) lawsuit.
Lisa-Maria Carter has spent eight years fighting a court case against the University of South Florida's (USF) medical team after the 2010 surgery. "I'm very, very happy. I am so thankful to God for blessing me at this point," the 53-year-old told Fox 13 News.
The top intelligence officer was about to fly to Iraq in 2010 on an assignment when she was diagnosed with a benign ovarian cyst during a medical test. She underwent an operation to remove it when a surgeon allegedly cut her small bowel, releasing flesh-eating bacteria, which destroyed her abdominal tissue.
Ken Dandar, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Carter, said that after the operation by Dr Larry Glazerman, a USF gynaecologist with surgical privileges at Tampa General Hospital (TGH), the woman's blood pressure plunged dangerously.
Dr Glazerman reportedly applied a solution inside Carter's abdominal cavity to keep the tissues together, and also used a sugar-based compound that acted as a "power bar" for bacteria, helping it to multiply fast, Dandar cited a medical expert in the lawsuit.
However, under Florida's sovereign immunity laws, Dr Glazerman is not liable to face any action.
Even his licence has not been cancelled and he is apparently working at a Planned Parenthood in Wilmington, Delaware. Like, Dr Glazerman, TGH is also not liable for any legal action because as in every case, they also got Carter's signature before carrying out the surgery, the Daily Mail reported.
Carter plans to use the money she won in the case to undergo a surgery at Cleveland Clinic to take off the skin sack and put her intestines back into her body.
But to get the amount, she might have to fight another battle, Dandar said. He added that the law which has saved Dr Glazerman from legal action also limits damages to $100,000 the USF is liable to pay.
The lawyer said that even if USF does not appeal against the court's verdict, Carter will have to fight to get the full amount, which might take years. "Hopefully, the legislature will see my client, look at her background protecting the country as an expert on hostile intelligence with top secret clearance and that she did nothing to cause this catastrophe," Dandar added.