What is the Value of Never being able to Eat Solid Foods for the Rest of Your Life? This Clayton County, Georgia, State Court Jury decides it is Worth more than Nothing which is what the Defense Offered in this Medical Malpractice Case.

operating-room-1-15057-mIn February of 2012, 46 year old Jeannette Collins reported to the Henry Piedmont Hospital Emergency Room (ER) in Georgia with complaints of nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.  Tests were ordered in the ER that ultimately showed that Ms. Collins had a small bowel obstruction requiring surgery.  At trial, both the Plaintiff, Mr. Collins, and the Defendant Dr. Ahmad Nuriddin agreed that this was the proper procedure under the circumstances.  During the surgery, however, the Defendants contend that they discovered that Ms. Collins had gastric outlet obstruction which is a problem that will keep the stomach from emptying. 

As such, the Defendants performed a procedure to correct the alleged outlet obstruction by severing a nerve to both the stomach and the intestine meant to reduce acid production; the procedure, once performed, can not be reversed.  The Plaintiff’s medical experts testified at trial, however, that Ms. Collins did not suffer from said gastric outlet obstruction and, furthermore, that the procedure that was performed was an act of last resort, outdated, and, in this case, unnecessary. 

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A Jury in Bibb County, Macon, Georgia Awarded $ 4.3 Million Dollars to the Parents of a Baby that was Born Premature, but Died, for Medical Malpractice and the Wrongful Death of the Child

hands-1402625-mOn August 1, 2007, Charles Dean, the baby boy of the Deans, was born by cesarian emergency delivery just 23 months and 4 days into the pregnancy and weighed just 1 pound and 26 ounces. Baby boy Dean lived for two (2) days and then died as he was just too small to survive outside the womb at that time. The parents of baby boy Dean, the Deans, brought a Medical Malpractice lawsuit against the two (2) obstetricians in charge of the care of the mother, Katherine Dean, during her pregnancy, for the Wrongful Death of Baby Boy Charles Dean.  The case is Dean v. Central Georgia Women’s Health Center, No. 72025.

In the lawsuit, the Deans argued that the mother had a prior history of miscarriage and a cervix condition and that, although all the tests that were ordered by the doctors were correct, when the mother began experiencing problems that lead to the premature delivery, the doctors failed to follow through when they should have been paying attention and doing more to stop the premature delivery of this baby. The Defense argued that the mother’s cervical condition and the premature delivery were not synonymous and that the treatment that a medical expert testified should have been performed during the pregnancy would not have prevented the premature labor and subsequent delivery.

The Macon, Georgia, Bibb County, Jury would disagree with the doctors’ defense, however, and, after a two (2) hour and fifteen (15) minute deliberation following a seven (7) day trial, would render a verdict in the total amount of $ 4.3 million dollars for the Deans.

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The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that in Medical Malpractice Cases in Georgia that if the Plaintiff’s Affidavit attached to the Plaintiff’s Complaint is Challenged that the Plaintiff May File an Amended Complaint with an Affidavit from a New Expert

gavel-952313-mThis is a case that many with the Georgia Bar have been watching as the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled unanimously to affirm the Georgia Court of Appeals’ ruling that states that if the Plaintiff’s Medical Expert Affidavit filed with the Plaintiff’s original complaint in a Medical Malpractice Case is found defective, and the Defendant files a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint based on said defect, that the Plaintiff could, if filed within thirty (30) days of being served with said Motion, cure the defect by filing an Amended Complaint with an Affidavit of a new Expert. This ruling serves to further define a rule of law in Georgia that has been in place since the 1980’s as well as set new standards for both Plaintiffs and Defendants in Medical Malpractice Cases in Georgia.

This ruling comes from a case that originated in Fulton County, Georgia, Superior Court, whereby the Plaintiff filed a Medical Malpractice Complaint with the required Expert Affidavit Attached thereto. The Defendant subsequently filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint stating that said Affidavit was defective. The Plaintiff then filed an Amended Complaint with a new Affidavit from a new expert, not a new Affidavit from the same expert as the original Affidavit.

The Defendant filed a Motion with the Court to Dismiss the Plaintiff’s claim for violating the rule that a Plaintiff’s Complaint in a Medical Malpractice Case must be filed with the Affidavit of a Medical Expert. The Honorable Kimberly Esmond Adams of the Superior Court agreed with the Defendant and dismissed the Plaintiff’s Complaint. The case is Gala v. Fisher, No. S14G0919.

The Plaintiff Appealed the case to the Georgia Court of Appeals and the three (3) Justice Panel of said Court consisting of the Honorable Elizabeth Barnes, the Honorable John Ellington, and the Chief Judge Herbert Phipps, disagreed with the Superior Court and reinstated the Plaintiff’s lawsuit. The case made its way to the Georgia Supreme Court whereby the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously agreed with the Court of Appeals, and, as further stated by the Honorable Presiding Justice P. Harris Hines that, “Nothing in our reading of the statute detracts from that purpose,” wrote Hines. “[The plaintiff] has exercised his right to amend his complaint as a matter of course under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-15(a), and produced an affidavit of an expert who opines that professional malpractice occurred.”

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A Medical Malpractice Case in Fulton County, Georgia whereby a Plaintiff, even with Injuries that were caused by the Defendant, lost the case as the Plaintiff failed to prove that the Standard of Care was Breached: VIDEO included ~ part two

operation-1389104-mThis is my second blog post where I discuss a Medical Malpractice Case out of the State Court of Fulton, County Georgia and the first blog post is titled, “A Medical Malpractice Case in Fulton County, Georgia whereby a Plaintiff, even with Injuries that were caused by the Defendant, lost the case as the Plaintiff failed to prove that the Standard of Care was Breached: VIDEO included ~ part one.”

The Honorable Diane Bessen would hear the case along with the Jury for three (3) days. Before deliberating, the Defendant reminded the jury that the burden of proving this case by a preponderance of the evidence was the Plaintiffs’ responsibility, and that, in the event there is a tie, that it goes to the Defendant. On February 24 the jury would return a verdict indicating that they were indeed deadlocked with 11 jurors finding for the Defendant and only 1 juror finding for the Plaintiffs. Therefore, the Plaintiffs would collect nothing in this case.

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A Medical Malpractice Case in Fulton County, Georgia whereby a Plaintiff, even with Injuries that were caused by the Defendant, lost the case as the Plaintiff failed to prove that the Standard of Care was Breached: VIDEO included ~ part one

surgery twoThis will be my first blog post where I discuss a Medical Malpractice Case and the title to this blog post is, “A Medical Malpractice Case in Fulton County, Georgia whereby a Plaintiff, even with Injuries that were caused by the Defendant, lost the case as the Plaintiff failed to prove that the Standard of Care was Breached: VIDEO included ~ part one.”

In August of 2011, Terri Hendrix was seen by Dr. Herschel Beker, a surgeon at Resurgens Orthopedics. Ms. Hendrix presented with lower back pain radiating down her right side that was causing her difficulty at her job as a mail carrier, and also interfering with her ability to enjoy time with her family such as playing softball with her daughter.

Dr. Beker’s recommendation was surgery.  The type of surgery that was recommended involved the surgeon scraping out the disk that is diseased and then placing a bone graft. Ms. Hendrix and her husband agreed to the surgery. During this particular surgery, the abdomen is the path to the spine and, therefore, a vascular surgeon also assists with the procedure.

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ANESTHESIA MALPRACTICE ~ The Deviation in the Standard of Anesthetic Care During Intubation Resulting in Aspiration ~ part two

medical-monitoring-1099993-mThis is a continuation of my discussion of this most important topic from my last blog post titled, “ANESTHESIA MALPRACTICE ~ The Deviation in the Standard of Anesthetic Care During Intubation Resulting in Aspiration ~ part one,” whereby I am setting forth some important questions that need to be answered and why these questions are important when faced with a Medical Malpractice Case involving whether or not there was a breach, or deviation, in the standard of care during an intubation that resulted in an aspiration.  The important questions are continued as follows:

5.) Prior to Intubation, was it checked whether or not the Patient had Dentures and were the Dentures Removed?

Why is this important? It is vitally important to identify any anatomical abnormality which could not be favorable for a successful intubation of ventilation.

6.) What, if any, measures were taken to make sure that there were no head and/or spinal cord injuries before positioning the head for Intubation?

Why is this important?  When performing an intubation on an adult, there is usually a pad or pillow that is positioned under the occiput so that the head is elevated. This will also make sure that the laryngeal, pharyngeal, and the oral structures are aligned.

7.) Was a Rigid Intubation Fiberscope in Use?

Why is this important? In patients where the airway is difficult, a Rigid Intubation Fibroscopes can improve the view of larynx.

8.) Prior to the Intubation was the Patient Provided Pre-Oxygenation?

Why is this important? If intubation proves to be difficult, during the period of apnea and before the tracheal intubation Pre-oxygenation can prevent hypoxia.

9.) During Intubation, was the Sellick’s maneuver performed?

Why is this important? Used successfully and routinely, the Sellick maneuver is used to protect patients during endotracheal intubation from esophageal aspiration and gastric insufflation from positive pressure ventilation.

10.) During Intubation, which, if any, of the Following Basic Physiologic Monitors were Performed?

Why is this important? It is imperative that the following physiologic monitors, that are basic, must be in place prior to the induction of anesthesia and tracheal intubation in the emergency department: 1.) Electrocardiography; 2.) Blood pressure that is not invasive; 3.) Pulse oximetry; 4.) End-tidal carbon dioxide analysis; and 5.) Temperature monitoring.

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ANESTHESIA MALPRACTICE ~ The Deviation in the Standard of Anesthetic Care During Intubation Resulting in Aspiration ~ part one

iv-bag-65906-mThis is my first blog titled, “ANESTHESIA MALPRACTICE ~ The Deviation in the Standard of Anesthetic Care During Intubation Resulting in Aspiration ~ part one.”  At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates we handle a variety of Medical Malpractice Cases in Atlanta, Georgia and surrounding communities including DeKalb County, Cobb County, Fulton County, the City of Atlanta, and Gwinnett County, just to name a few. One of the types of cases that we see are cases that involve Medical Malpractice in Anesthesiology or, in other words, Anesthesia Malpractice.

For example, a type of case that we see is when there has been a deviation, or breach, in the Standard of Care at the Time of Intubation that has Resulted in Aspiration. In many of these cases, we see Catastrophic Injuries such as severe and permanent brain damage due a lack of oxygen to the brain, and, in the worst case scenarios, we see a Wrongful Death where the patient has died due to the negligence of the anesthesiologist, a nurse, an assistant, an employee of the hospital, the doctor, the hospital itself or any or all of those listed, again, just to name a few of the people and/or entities that could be potentially liable under these circumstances.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a Medical Malpractice Case of this type then we are truly sorry. We understand and are very compassionate to the heartache that your loved one and your family are suffering as a result of such a tragic event. As with all Medical Malpractice Cases, there are strict time lines that must be followed by law and these cases can take months to investigate so it is imperative that you contact us immediately for your free legal consultation by any or all of the following means so that we may begin investigating your case and preparing a case that will end with a winning result: By phone at (770) 865-8654 , (813) 363-6664; by email at juliericelaw@outlook.com; and/or Contact Us on our website or on the Contact Form on this blog. We are available 24/7 and we look forward to assisting you with your case.

In order to determine whether or not there has been a breach in the Standard of Care in these types of cases in particular, there are several questions that must be asked and answered. We have outlined some of the important questions herein below and in our next blog titled, “ANESTHESIA MALPRACTICE ~ The Deviation in the Standard of Anesthetic Care During Intubation Resulting in Aspiration ~ part two,” and also listed why these particular questions are important. Where possible, we have provided outside references as well for your review and consideration.

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A Medical Malpractice Jury Trial in Georgia Allegedly Riddled with Errors Returns a Verdict of almost $ 22 Million Dollars for the Plaintiff, No Punitive Damages in the Case Despite Evidence to the Contrary, and a Vow from Defense Counsel that there Will Be an Appeal [A VIDEO Link is Included Hereinbelow] ~ part two

hospital-room-449234-mThis a continuation of my last blog post titled, “A Medical Malpractice Jury Trial in Georgia Allegedly Riddled with Errors Returns a Verdict of almost $ 22 Million Dollars for the Plaintiff, No Punitive Damages in the Case Despite Evidence to the Contrary, and a Vow from Defense Counsel that there Will Be an Appeal [A VIDEO Link is Included Hereinbelow] ~ part one.”

The second phase of the trial that was discussed in the last blog post was to determine if punitive damages against Dr. Doherty were warranted under the circumstances. In Georgia, Punitive Damage awards are very significant for a number of reasons and one main reason is that an award of punitive damages can not be discharged in bankruptcy. Not to mention that many insurance carriers for doctors and other professionals will not support an award of punitive damages depending upon the terms of the insurance policy leaving the insured exposed to potential collection of the punitive damage portion of the judgement from the insured’s own assets and beyond.

In this case, the jury returned a decision that punitive damages were warranted under the circumstances. The panel, however, after hearing presentations from attorneys and Dr. Doherty himself did not award punitive damages in any amount. This was despite the fact that the panel had previously determined that Dr. Doherty’s professional performance displayed willful and wanton misconduct that did, in fact, justify an award of punitive damages.

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A Medical Malpractice Jury Trial in Georgia Allegedly Riddled with Errors Returns a Verdict of almost $ 22 Million Dollars for the Plaintiff, No Punitive Damages in the Case Despite Evidence to the Contrary, and a Vow from Defense Counsel that there Will Be an Appeal [A VIDEO Link is Included Hereinbelow] ~ part one

vitals-monitor-294066-mIn 2008, Gwen Brown underwent an elective procedure in Georgia whereby she was receiving injections of steroids at the direction of her doctor, Dr. Dennis Doherty, at the Southeastern Pain Ambulatory Surgery Center when it was indicated by monitors that her breathing was improper. It would be noted by lawyers for the Plaintiff and in Court documents that Ms. Brown was deprived severely of oxygen for as many as ten (10) minutes, that her blood pressure had dramatically dropped and that there was not a detection of any pulse. Regardless of the situation, Dr. Doherty did not discontinue the procedure.

Furthermore, it was noted by the former nurse who was the chief nurse at the time and also later a codefendant in the lawsuit, Mary Hardwick, that Dr. Doherty was late for the procedure and that this was common for him as well as his frequent impaired appearance along with other behavioral and patient safety issues. Nevertheless and given the grave conditions at hand, 911 was not called for over an hour. Later, Ms. Brown would then be transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Georgia. Despite the conditions in which Ms. Brown was admitted to St. Josephs, Dr. Doherty failed to tell anybody at St. Josephs that Ms. Brown had been without oxygen for many minutes.

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Defendant Neurosurgeon Prevails in Medical Malpractice Case Involving the Death of a Patient in 2004 ~ Video about the Case included herein

doctors for dec 3 blogIn April, 2004 now deceased Mark Kravitz was admitted to WellStar Cobb Hospital in Georgia to have surgery performed to relieve herniated discs on two (2) cervical vertebrae by fusion and discectomy to be performed by Defendant neurosurgeon Dr. Omar Jimenez. The surgery was a success.

After the surgery, however, Mr. Kravitz’s neck began to swell and the circumference of his neck was increasing. Dr. Jamienez ordered that Mr. Kravitz’s neck have an ice pack placed on it. Later he prescribed Mr. Kravitz a drug for nausea. It appeared that Mr. Kravitz was comfortably resting until, after several hours, he complained of neck pain and nausea. He was then given an anti-inflammatory.

Within fifteen minutes after the anti-inflammatory drug was given, Mr. Kravitz called for a nurse. The nurse noted that Mr. Kravitz was then short of breath and in distress. Despite being put on oxygen, Mr. Kravitz went into respiratory arrest and could not be revived.

At some time between the Mr. Kravitzs’ condition becoming worse and prior to his death, Mr. Kravitz was moved to the intensive care unit.

The Plaintiff made an offer to settle for $ 1 Million Dollars which was the policy limits of the Medical Malpractice Insurance Policy. Other than that, it is reported that there were no other discussions of settlement or even mediation.

In 2006, Mr. Kravitz’s widow, Chompok Kravitz, sued WellStar Health System, Dr. Jamenez, and Dr. Jamenez’s employer Georgia Spine and Brain in Fulton, Georgia State Court. The Plaintiff’s claim was that the nurses at WellStar Hospital were responsible as well as Dr. Jimenez and that something more should have been done such as an imaging study, a consultation, or the like.

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