A Savannah, Georgia medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff on August 14, 2017 after a six-day Georgia medical malpractice trial and two hours and twenty minutes of jury deliberations, for the death of a post-surgical patient while he was in the hospital the night following spinal fusion surgery.
The Georgia medical malpractice jury awarded $15,000 in funeral expenses, $360,000 for the patient’s conscious pain and suffering, and valued the 54-year-old patient’s life at $4.1 million. The Georgia medical malpractice jury found that the spinal surgeon was not liable for his patient’s death but the hospital’s nursing staff was 90% liable and the attending hospitalist was 10% liable.
The man had spinal fusion surgeon performed by the defendant surgeon in December 2014. After 8 p.m. on the night of his surgery, the man began having neck pain and had difficulty breathing, swallowing, and talking. The defendant hospitalist checked on the man, at his wife’s insistence, shortly before midnight and ordered a CT scan. Before the CT scan could be done, the man collapsed and a code was called. The defendant hospitalist telephoned the defendant surgeon thirty minutes into the code, and the surgeon began driving back to the hospital. However, the man died before the surgeon arrived back at the hospital, despite four unsuccessful attempts at intubating the man.
The Georgia medical malpractice plaintiff alleged that the man died due to bleeding from the surgery and that the defendant surgeon should have been called back to the hospital earlier. The defense argued that the man died from an unrelated heart attack. An autopsy showed the the man had a blood clot in his neck.
After the Georgia medical malpractice jury returned its $4.475 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s medical malpractice attorney reported that he spoke with jury members after the trial and that he was told by five female jurors that they had wanted to award the plaintiff $8 million but they were unable to persuade the other jurors.
The hospital where the man’s spinal surgery and death took place states on its website that it ” … is a physician-owned, Critical Access Hospital offering local healthcare services in thirteen counties. Emergency services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week … We continually strive to provide excellent patient care in the following areas of service: Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Interventional Pain Management, General Surgery, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy … [our] enhanced surgery center is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for exceptional care. With more than 30 board-certified orthopedic physicians and highly trained staff members, our nurse-to-patient ratio and physician supervision of overnight patients is unprecedented.”
If you or a family member were injured (or worse) due to medical negligence in Georgia, you should promptly find a Georgia medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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