Jury: KCI Must Pay $1 Million

A Bexar County District Court on Friday awarded a Tyler man $1 million in damages related to gruesome bedsores he suffered as result of an allegedly defective bed distributed by a one-time unit of San Antonio wound-care company Kinetic Concepts Inc.

Jim R. Walker was awarded compensatory damages for his suffering, which included a pressure ulcer, bone inflammation and the removal of his tail bone.

The 12-person jury didn't award punitive damages, however.

The bed was distributed by KCI's former Therapeutic Support Systems (TSS) unit, which the company sold in November to Swedish health care company Getinge Group for $275 million.

Walker sued KCI in 2011.

"We are disappointed with (the) jury verdict," KCI spokesman Mike Barger said in statement. "KCI has a legacy of providing safe and effective life-saving therapies for hospitals and patients around the world."

KCI hasn't made a determination yet whether it will appeal the verdict, Barger said.

The critical-care bed was defective in that it allowed Walker to slide through the cushions, coming to rest on a hard bed frame, said Marynell Maloney, Walker's attorney.

According to Maloney, a KCI engineer testified during the trial that the problem could have been corrected for about $40 per bed, but wasn't for "business reasons."

Retired Judge Martha Tanner presided over the three-week trial. Jurors deliberated about 31/2 hours before reaching their verdict, Maloney said.