On March 6, 2018, a Georgia medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $18 million in favor of the 58-year-old plaintiff who walked into a hospital but left in a wheelchair, having suffered paralysis that she alleged was due to the medical negligence of the medical providers responsible for her treatment in the hospital.
The Georgia medical malpractice jury deliberated for four-and-a-half hours after the seven-day trial before determining that the defendant infectious disease physician and his medical practice are responsible for 90% of the verdict. A hospital that was dismissed from the case before trial was found to be 10% responsible for the verdict.
The plaintiff had gone to the emergency room on July 20, 2014 due to acute back pain, where she was treated and released. Ten days later, she returned to the emergency room, this time due to altered mental state, and was admitted to the hospital. Medical testing determined that she had a bloodstream infection and sepsis. An MRI on August 5, 2014 found an extensive infection and an abscess in her spine, according to the Georgia medical malpractice plaintiff. On August 6, 2014, the plaintiff had decompression surgery. On September 11, 2014, she was discharged from the hospital, at which time she was paralyzed.
The woman’s Georgia medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the hospital’s medical staff negligently failed to timely diagnose her spinal abscess, which resulted in her paralysis.
The defense argued to the Georgia medical malpractice jury that the plaintiff did not have a spinal abscess but rather suffered an unavoidable clotting injury or infarction to the blood vessels that provide blood to her spinal cord due to her infection. The defense told the Georgia medical malpractice jury that the plaintiff arrived at the hospital in a dire medical condition due to sepsis, acute kidney failure, and diabetic ketoacidosis (the plaintiff was diabetic).
The defense told the Georgia medical malpractice jury that the hospital’s medical staff was extensively consulted and many physicians were involved in the plaintiff’s medical care. The jury was told about the numerous medications given to the plaintiff to treat her life-threatening medical conditions. The defense argued that the plaintiff’s injury was not due to any breach of the standard of care but rather was due to the devastating effects of her systemic infection and its consequences.
After the Georgia medical malpractice jury rendered its verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s Georgia medical malpractice attorney stated, “She’s an amazing woman and a very positive person. I think the jury believed this kind of judgment would help her. She believes she will walk again.”
The defense has indicated it will likely appeal the verdict.
If you have been injured as a result of medical negligence in Georgia or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Georgia medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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