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Cruise Crewmember Gets $1 Million for Surgery

A Miami state court jury has awarded $1 million to a seafaring pastry chef who lived with a disabling pacemaker for a year only to discover he never needed it. Shalesh Butto, an otherwise healthy, 31-year old second-degree black belt jiu-jitsu fighter, blamed his employer for the mistake. Celebrity Cruise Lines sent the crewmember from Europe to the Dominican Republic in 2009 to see less expensive doctors after he complained of headaches and facial pain in 2009.

Doctors first inserted a pacemaker and then performed sinus surgery for an infection the following week. Butto's symptoms disappeared. But for the next year, pain surged through Butto's chest and he ultimately had to use a walker to walk. After obtaining a visa, he saw Miami cardiologists who removed the pacemaker and after doing so, Butto recovered.

Butto sued for medical negligence under the U.S. Jones Act and won the award after a one-week jury trial before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ronald Dresnick. Celebrity is reportedly exploring their post-trial and appellate remedies.

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