Harris Lowry Manton LLP, Jeffrey R. Harris and associate Yvonne S. Godfrey, along with Owen C. Murphy of Owen Murphy, P.C. and W. Andrew Bowen of Bowen Painter, LLC – recently set a record with an $18 million verdict from a Chatham County jury on behalf of their client, Joan Simmons.
“The jury in this case recognized that Joan Simmons was tragically, catastrophically injured and that she will be a paraplegic the rest of her life as a result of medical malpractice,” said Jeffrey R. Harris of Harris Lowry Manton LLP. “The jury’s verdict clearly reflected that understanding.”
In 2014, Simmons went to her local Savannah, Ga. hospital as she was experiencing back pain. Simmons, the 30-year-old Colonial Oil employee was admitted and upon examination was found in addition to the back pain to be showing signs of an infection. An infectious disease doctor at Southwest Medical Group along with other medical professionals failed to diagnose or treat her spinal abscess, a serious complication of a spinal infection. The untreated abscess caused pressure that was placed upon her spinal cord, thus causing paralysis in both legs. As a result of their negligence, Simmons was left permanently paraplegic and unable to work.
“Ms. Simmons went into the hospital with severe back pain and left the hospital in a wheelchair, unable to walk because her medical condition was not timely diagnosed or treated,” said Owen C. Murphy of Owen Murphy, P.C.
Just a few hours into closing arguments, the Chatham County jury returned the largest medical malpractice verdict, as well as the largest personal injury verdict in the county’s history. The jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Joan Simmons, finding that Southcoast Medical Group liable for failing to properly diagnose and treat Simmons spinal abscess.
“This was an important case that clearly demonstrated the catastrophic effect of medical malpractice,” said W. Andrew Bowen of Bowen Painter, LLC. “We are grateful that justice was served for our client and that the responsible parties are being held accountable.”
Jones Brown PLLC
We go to doctors and medical professionals for accurate diagnoses, quality care, and, hopefully, to feel better. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. In some cases, those professionals – physicians, nurses, assistants, orderlies – can cause further injury. Fortunately for patients, the legal system has developed procedures and rules to help determine who should be liable for injuries sustained while receiving medical care, known generally as “medical malpractice.” Medical malpractice liability can occur due to a flawed diagnosis, improper treatment, or even treating a patient without proper permission.
There are two main components to most medical malpractice cases: figuring out who was at fault and then proving that fault legally. Medical malpractice liability is not limited to just doctors: it can also apply to nurses and others who provide health care services. Even hospitals and pharmaceutical companies can be found liable for malpractice.
The other main thrust of a medical malpractice suit is proving fault. Most medical malpractice cases contend that a medical professional was negligent in treating a patient. To legally establish medical negligence, an injured patient must prove:
Our firm is proud to represent patients and their families when they’ve suffered serious injuries or death as a result of the actions of medical staff. Such actions are known legally as medical malpractice or MedMal. MedMal occurs when a member of the medical staff fails to provide adequate and acceptable standards of care, or when they make a preventable medical error. The medical staff that can be held liable does not end with the physicians; it also includes the nurses and technicians.
Examples of medical errors include unreasonable diagnostic errors, surgical and anesthetic errors, and erroneous medication administration.