It started with his boy. Robert Downey’s 11-year-old had a sore and tested positive for MRSA, a dangerous infection that is treatable if defected in time but can be deadly. The young man was given intravenous antibiotics and recovered.
A few weeks later Robert had a similar sore that he worried would also be a sign of MRSA and saw the same physician’s assistant who had treated his son (and who remembered he did so), but no culture was taken and Robert was given oral antibiotics. Robert went back to be seen twice more as his sore did not clear up and he developed a pain in his shoulder as well that he thought could be related, but he was told the shoulder had an unrelated case of bursitis and still no culture was taken, despite his son’s diagnosis.
Two days after that he collapsed at home as the result of his infection, which was indeed MRSA; two weeks later his hands and feet were amputated, and parts of his legs have been amputated since. His wife had to leave her job to become his full time caregiver.
Under MICRA’s outdated cap, Robert can be compensated no more than $250,000 for the preventable loss of his hands and feet.