A Georgia medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $26 million against the defendant hospital on December 11, 2017 for the severe and permanent brain injury suffered by the plaintiff as a result of respiratory collapse that was allegedly due to the medical negligence of a physician who was caring for her in the hospital.
The Georgia medical malpractice jury deliberated for more than eight hours following a two-week trial before determining that the hospital on-call staff physician failed to properly treat the plaintiff’s post-operative neck hematoma that pressed against her trachea and prevented her brain from receiving oxygen, leading to her permanent brain damage that has left her blind and unable to care for herself.
The then 53-year-old plaintiff had neck surgery in 2012 and returned to the hospital days later, complaining that she had swelling in her neck and she was having difficulty breathing and could not swallow, which were due to a blood clot in her neck that was growing in size. Physicians attempted to intubate the plaintiff hours later, which efforts were unsuccessful and allegedly led to the plaintiff’s avoidable brain injury.
The Georgia medical malpractice plaintiff alleged that the hospital staff physician was on-call but failed to timely respond to the hospital when contacted about the plaintiff, that he failed to review the plaintiff’s x-ray imaging, and that he failed to timely treat the plaintiff’s condition when proper treatment could have prevented her subsequent respiratory collapse. The Georgia medical malpractice plaintiff further alleged that the on-call staff physician’s negligent failures to properly treat her led to the botched attempt at intubation by another physician.
The hospital’s pulmonologist, who was also named as a defendant, contended that he was not called to treat the plaintiff until her condition was already critical, and that his decision to intubate the plaintiff in the ICU instead of waiting to transport her to a surgical suite was appropriate: his attorney argued that “as bad as things are for [the plaintiff], she is alive, and she is alive in part because [the physicians] acted … to save her.” The Georgia medical malpractice jury cleared the pulmonologist of any medical negligence.
The on-call staff physician reportedly testified at trial that he went to the hospital to check on the plaintiff but he could not find her in either the ER or the ICU. He further testified that he had reviewed the plaintiff’s x-rays at the hospital. However, no one reportedly saw the on-call staff physician at the hospital until hours after the plaintiff arrived at the ER, and the hospital computer records failed to show that the on-call staff physician had accessed the plaintiff’s x-ray imaging, according to the plaintiff’s lawyer.
The defendant hospital reportedly has agreed to not appeal the Georgia medical malpractice jury’s $26 million verdict in exchange for the plaintiff agreeing to not pursue a claim for her attorney fees.
Source Williams v. Tidwell, SC14CV882.
If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of medical malpractice in a Georgia hospital, you should promptly consult with a Georgia medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your Georgia medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a Georgia hospital malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or telephone us on our toll-free line in the United States (800-295-3959) to be connected with Georgia medical malpractice attorneys who may assist you with your hospital medical malpractice claim.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.