as any dog owner having similar knowledge and control would be. The Court concludes, therefore, that defendant, through its agents, breached a duty of care owed to plaintiffs by negligently permitting Sergeant Casey to keep a dangerous dog on base premises. Here, too, this breach of the duty of care proximately caused the injury and resulting damage to Tracey and to Linda Nelson, both individually and in her capacity as Tracey's mother and next friend.
Plaintiffs offered extensive evidence of Tracey's physical and emotional injuries and damages proximately resulting from the defendant's negligence, and the expenses incurred in the past and to be incurred in the future because of those injuries. While it is always difficult to determine that sum of money that will fairly and reasonably compensate the injured for all the damage suffered, in this case past expenses are certain and evidence of the reasonable probability of future losses, firmly supported by the testimony, is virtually unchallenged.
The plaintiff, Linda M. Nelson, parent of Tracey, will be entitled to recover those past medical expenses totaling $6,769.00, which she has a legal obligation to pay on behalf of her minor child. The elements constituting that total are: past medical expenses for physicians, dentists and hospitals - $5,668.00; for drugs and special clothing - $667.00; for meals and transportation - $178.00; and for her lost wages - $256.00.
The plastic surgeon testified credibly that the child's resulting "ugly-looking" scarring demands extensive scar revision and reconstructive surgery for the damaged regions around her eye and lips which, in addition to required esthetic improvement, would help alleviate, among other damage, the tear duct problem and also assist the functions of speaking and swallowing. While Tracey will have permanent physical scarring all her life, she will continue also to have significant emotional scarring as a result of the traumatization from the dog attack and each of the four surgical procedures recommended for the future. The evidence demonstrated, with reasonable probability, the need and the expense for this plastic surgery involvement which totals $30,800.00 for surgeons' and anesthesiologists' fees, the operating process and hospitalizations.
Additionally, the $1,500.00 requested for future prescriptions appears, according to the evidence, to be both probable and reasonable.
Tracey will need future surgical attention to the esotropia resulting from the injuries suffered in this cause. Currently she requires prismatic correction with glasses. The expenses for this during the next five to ten years are expected to amount to at least $8,000.00 according to unchallenged medical evidence (see PX 8).
It is unquestioned that as a proximate consequence of the canine attack, Tracey Nelson has suffered deep and continuing psychiatric scarring requiring intensive individual therapy to assist with her post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic. Psychiatric treatment, and psychoanalysis in particular, on a regular and continuing basis for three to six years (600 to 1,500 hours of psychiatric examination) is essential to help the child "deal with her neurotic problems and resultant internalization of anger, withdrawal, phobic concerns, depression, regression, etc." (PX 12; DX B, at 6). The child has had psychiatric evaluation at a health center near her home in Minnesota but has not commenced treatment due to the $95.00 per hour charge. Based on the reasonable probability of an average 1,000 hours of recommended therapy, the overall psychiatric expense would be $95,000.
Accordingly, and in summary of the above, the plaintiff, Linda M. Nelson, as parent and next friend of Tracey R. Nelson, a minor, is entitled to recover $135,300.00 for future medical, surgical, prescription and psychotherapeutic expenses found to be reasonably probable and appropriately attributable to acts of the defendant.
It is undeniable that Tracey has incurred not only permanent scars, with resultant pain and suffering, but, in addition, has been burdened with emotional pain and suffering since Rocky's attack. She continues to suffer and the reasonable probability is that she will also have future pain and suffering. Based on the totality of the record, she is, therefore, entitled to be reasonably and justly compensated in the sum of $200,000.00 for this component of her damages.
The nature of pain and suffering is such that no legal yardstick can be fashioned to measure accurately reasonable compensation for it. No one can measure another's pain and suffering; only the person suffering knows how much he is suffering, and even he could not accurately say what would be reasonable compensation for it. Earning power and dollars are interchangeable; suffering and dollars are not. Two persons apparently suffering the same pain from the same kind of injury might in fact be suffering respectively pains differing much in acuteness, depending on the nervous sensibility of the sufferer. Two persons suffering exactly the same pain would doubtless differ as to what reasonable compensation for that pain would be. This being true, it follows that jurors would probably differ widely as to what is reasonable compensation for another's pain and suffering, no matter how specific the court's instructions might be . . . .
Herb v. Hallowell, 304 Pa. 128, 154 A. 582 (1931).
It is expected that Linda M. Nelson, as mother and next friend, will promptly advise the court of competent jurisdiction in the State of Minnesota of this judgment and seek its authorization for appropriate expenditures on behalf of Tracey R. Nelson, a minor.
A separate Judgment accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
In accordance with the Memorandum Opinion issued this date:
Judgment is entered in favor of the plaintiff, Linda M. Nelson, and against the defendant, United States of America, in the sum of six thousand seven hundred sixty-nine dollars ($6,769).
Judgment is entered in favor of the plaintiff, Linda M. Nelson, as parent and next friend, and on behalf of the minor, Tracey R. Nelson, and against the defendant, United States of America, in the sum of three hundred thirty-five thousand three hundred dollars ($335,300).