Verdicts & Settlements
Louis v. Gwinnett Medical Center, Dr. Williard Hearin
On November 9, 2016, a Gwinnett County jury awarded $30.5 million to a mother and her child who was born severely and permanently brain-damaged because of medical malpractice. Harris Lowry Manton LLP partner Jed Manton served as co-counsel, along with Daniel Weinstock of the Philadelphia firm Feldman Shephard LLP, in the Gwinnett County state court case.
Zetah Louis was 35 weeks pregnant when an ultrasound showed possible blood flow problems through the umbilical cord to the fetus. Instead of preparing for an emergency C-section, she was sent to Gwinnett Medical Center for a consult. After arriving at the hospital, she was forced to wait an extended time period and a follow up test which had been ordered STAT was not timely performed.
Because of the delay, her baby Re’Ayah suffered hypoxic brain injury and was born with permeant injuries including cerebral palsy, developmental delay and a seizure disorder. Re’Ayah, who is now 4, will need 24-hour care for the rest of her life.
The jury assigned 75 percent fault to the medical center and 25 percent fault to Dr. Hearin. “With this recovery, there is a substantial likelihood that Re’Ayah’s quality of life will improve in years to come, as she will now have access to the medical care she deserves,” Jed said after the jury awarded the $30.5 million verdict.
Corey v. City of Atlanta, Clear Channel and Barbara Fouch
Loretta Terhune was awarded $8.5 million in actual damages and $35 million in punitive damages as a result of the poor care her father received during the eight months he was a resident at Moran Lake Road Nursing Home in Rome, Ga.
Terhune sued Forum Medical, the company that owned and operated Moran Lake. Her father, Morris Ellison, was malnourished, dehydrated, denied medical care for a broken hip and ultimately died after what was supposed to be a temporary stay as he received post-operative rehabilitative care. He was otherwise in good health.
Steve Lowry, lead counsel, explained, “The care provided by this nursing home was horrific. The owner was using health insurance payments to fund his lavish lifestyle while depriving the nurse home residents of basic care. The large punitive damages award should serve as a wakeup call that the citizens of Georgia will not tolerate those who abuse the elderly.”
With the help of Harris Lowry Manton, Ms. Terhune’s case brought the largest judgment against a nursing home facility in the history of the State of Georgia.
Wyckstandt v. Gwinnett Hospital System
On November 21, 2000, Richard and Wendy Wyckstandt had their second son, Austin, at Gwinnett Medical Center. Unrelated to this case, Austin was born with a congenital heart defect and later died.
Wendy was released from the hospital two days after giving birth, but was readmitted on November 25. She was diagnosed with toxemia/preeclampsia. When her mother came to visit Wendy on the morning of November 28, she found her daughter drowned in the shower. Wendy was revived, transferred to ICU, but died about 24 hours later.
Evidence at trial showed that the hospital failed to follow its own policies and should have assisted Wendy whenever she was out of bed. Jeff Harris served as lead counsel for the Wyckstandt family with the assistance of Jed Manton, then an associate at HLM. Harris noted, “When we first got involved in the Wyckstandt case many did not feel that a patient would be able to win against a hospital in Gwinnett County. We always believed in this case and were very pleased that the jury was able to see that Wendy’s death was entirely preventable if she had received proper medical care.” Since the verdict, there have been several other large verdicts in Gwinnett County involving poor medical care.
Harris Lowry Manton helped the Wyckstandt family secure a $5 million verdict against the hospital system for its negligence. According to Jed Manton, “Successes at trial often turn on finding the piece of evidence that the defense is overlooking. The Wyckstandt trial is a prime example, where we were able to show through the hospitals internal polices, as well as their surveillance tapes, that the defense they put up to the jury was not an accurate account of what led to Wendy’s death.”
Allen v. Consolidated OB-Gyn, Dekalb Surgical Associates
Kathleen Allen’s daughter, Tanyka Brydson, was admitted to DeKalb Medical Center to give birth to her twins via cesarean section. Tanyka’s incision area became infected and required immediate, aggressive treatment as well as timely surgical intervention. Instead, it was delayed.
Ultimately, Tanyka underwent multiple surgical debridements as her condition continued to worsen during her hospitalization at DeKalb Medical Center. Her mother had her transferred to another hospital where she ultimately died due to multi-system organ failure secondary to necrotizing fasciitis. DeKalb Medical Center failed to properly diagnose, treat and care for Tanyka.
Jeff Harris and Steve Lowry served as lead trial counsel, along with Jed Manton, in what defense counsel called the most complex medical malpractice case they had ever been involved in. Jeff Harris, however, explained, “While the underlying medicine was complex, HLM prides itself in being able to take the most complex issues and figure out a way to explain these concepts in a manner that the jury can relate to and understand. At the end of the day, this case was about the failures of the treatment team to recognize text book examples of a spreading infection. Tragically, Tanyka did not receive proper medical care and died as a result.”
Steve Lowry noted, “Tanyka suffered greatly because her post-surgical infection was not properly treated. We were able to use the defendants’ notations in her medical records to prove that timely intervention would have prevented this tragic result.” With the help of the HLM team, Ms. Allen sued the physicians responsible for the negligent care of her daughter and won a $4.3 million verdict.
Settlement with a hospital for an elderly woman who suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of poor post-surgical care