A jury has awarded $12 million to a Southern California woman who was left in a vegetative state after she waited hours at a hospital before being sent elsewhere for surgery to remove an air-rifle pellet from her brain.

The Pomona Superior Court jury on Thursday found that Greater El Monte Community Hospital was negligent in treating Jessica Ramirez, of El Monte. Her mother, Ofelia Reynaga, brought the suit on behalf of her daughter.

The 22-year-old was shot in the head with an air gun in September 2007, but was conscious and walked herself into the emergency room.

Her attorney, Dr. Bruce Fagel, says she waited for five hours before being flown by helicopter to another hospital where she was rushed into surgery.