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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Memorial Hospital has to pay $168 million in liability to a formersheriff's deputy following complications from a surgical procedure, and that amount is before the punitive damages are added.

According to a news release from the Legal PR agency, the liability portion of the lawsuit against the hospital concluded Friday when the jury decided the award was the right amount for Clay Chandler and his family.

Doug Perkins, a Legal PR spokesperson, explained that Chandler, a deputy with the Clay County Sheriff's Office, had a laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure at Memorial in 2007. Complications followed, according to the lawsuit, that went untreated for too long.

Perkins said Chandler subsequently went into cardiac arrest and septic shock, suffering a hypoxic brain injury. Chandler also was in a coma for more than two weeks, Perkins said.

The result is that Chandler cannot speak intelligently, walk, feed or clean himself. He also has eye problems, in need of a cornea transplant for the second time.

Perkins added that Chandler is aware of his problems, as his cognitive abilities remain largely intact.

"He'd take his health any day over that money, I don't know a human being that would trade places for that money," said Attorney Thomas Edwards.

Edwards and Eric Ragatz represented Chandler and convinced the jury to award the family an additional $10 million in punitive damage.

Edwards said thejury also found that Memorial committed medical negligence and fraud in the case.

"There was no peer review and no peer credential," said Edwards.

Brian Cummings, attorney forMemorial declined comment, but said there will be an appeal.

The hospital issued a statement:

"We are saddened by what Mr. Chandler has experienced. While we sympathize with him and his family and respect the judicial process, we do not agree with the outcome of the case and intend to appeal."

Edwards said on average an appeal in Florida could take one to two years. A separate lawsuit against the physician,John Deperi, M.D. was settled, he said. The terms were undisclosed.

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