Posted Oct 27, 2010 08:25 pm CDT
Law student Antonio Meño Ortega didn’t like the way his nose looked. So he had cosmetic surgery two decades ago that left him in a coma after he was accidentally deprived of oxygen.
To this day, 21 years later, he has never received any damages award for the injury because of disagreement about whether or not the hospital in Madrid, where the surgery was performed, was negligent, the New York Times reports.
Over a year ago, his desperate mother began a sit-in with her now 42-year-old son, who has retained his good looks but has to be cared for like a baby outside the Justice Ministry in Madrid. Among the protest banners outside the makeshift shelter in which they have now resided there for nearly 500 days is one that says, “Where is justice? In a coma?” the newspaper recounts.
Camping there in a shelter built by her husband helped Juana Ortega’s case in a way she presumably hadn’t anticipated:
A doctor involved in her son’s care at the time of the operation strolled by one day and discovered for the first time that the family had received no compensation. He is now providing evidence to support their negligence claim, and the country’s supreme court has agreed to review the case early next month, the Times reports.
“We’ve received here the respect and attention sadly denied to us by the judicial system,” says Juana Ortega of her vigil outside the Justice Ministry. “Ordinary folks can relate to us, unlike these big and powerful judges who see us just as case numbers.”