We are different than many law firms that widely advertise their handling of medical malpractice and wrongful death cases. Many firms advertise and represent that they handle cases of this nature when in fact the case will be referred to a lawyer outside the firm who will actually file and handle the case to conclusion. At our law firm, if we accept your case, we will personally handle your case from start to finish. We do not engage in the practice of "farming out" our cases to other lawyers in exchange for a portion of the fee ultimately generated.
Our clients consistently compliment us on our aggressiveness in handling their cases while at the same time, keeping them fully informed and remaining accessible along the way. We will happily provide references from former clients upon request.
Failure to respond to medical emergency in intensive care unit/Medical Malpractice/$1.25 Million
The patient, a 51 year-old dedicated husband and father of two teenage sons, was recuperating in intensive care following an accident resulting in injuries including a broken femur and a ruptured spleen. Due to breathing difficulties, the patient was oxygen-dependent upon an endotracheal tube. The patient removed his EKG leads and his endotracheal tube, possibly as a result of agitation induced by breathing difficulty. Despite the fact that alarms should have been triggered by the removal of the leads and consequences of the oxygen deprivation, no nurses responded to the alarms and the patient was not discovered for a period of 8-10 minutes or more. The alarms were either ignored or failed to sound. When found by a nurse that happened to be walking by his room, the patient could not be resuscitated and died. The settlement of this case enabled the surviving wife to remain in the family home and will assist the two surviving sons with continuing their education and will assist with other expenses as they enter adulthood without the guidance of their father.
Failure to treat shunt malfunction / Medical Malpractice. $5 Million Dollar, present value settlement.
A child was born prematurely and as a result, had placement of a shunt for prevention of build-up of intracranial pressure. When the child was approximately one year old, the mother took the child to a pediatric neurosurgeon because she suspected shunt malfunction/obstruction as result of the child's lethargic condition and vomiting. In the past, a physician performed a shunt revision, a brief procedure, to restore the draining ability of the shunt. The child was admitted for CT scan to determine whether the shunt was malfunctioning. Despite the fact that the CT scan confirmed increased intracranial pressure as a result of the shunt malfunction, no physician performed a shunt revision. Nurses, despite a significant drop in the child's vital signs, failed to summon a physician. Approximately 10 hours after the CT scan was performed, as a result of the uncontrolled build-up of intracranial pressure, the child suffered a brain herniation and posterior cerebral infarct. This child was rendered quadriplegic, is blind, has severe cognitive and communication disorders and has suffered other permanent life-altering problems. In addition, this child will always have to be fed by use of a gastrostomy tube (g-tube) and will never be able to eat solid foods or drink liquids by mouth. Resolved by settlement in 2005.
Failure to diagnose meningitis and brain infection/Medical Malpractice/$3 Million
The 44 year-old patient had a brain infection (listeria encephalitis with meningitis) which was not diagnosed by an emergency room physician, nor by a neurologist. The ER physician failed to consider the possibility of a neurological infection despite neurological symptoms (double vision and one eye pointed inward toward his nose) and an elevated temperature. A lumbar puncture done at the ER would have lead to the diagnosis and allowed early antibiotic treatment to arrest the progress of the infection. A neurologist who saw the patient the next day misread an MRI scan and concluded in error that his patient had multiple sclerosis. After a four day delay, the untreated bacterial infection had grown, almost doubling in size, causing permanent and disabling injury, resulting in the inability to walk and difficulty speaking. The patient is no longer able to independently perform the normal activities of daily living. After years battling through the court system, the recovery in this action will allow this honorable man to move out of his mother’s apartment and obtain the care necessary to live in his own residence. The recovery will also pay for any necessary future medical care, including possible future surgeries to alleviate tremors and other consequences of the misdiagnosis.
Breach of promise of confidentiality by media; Failure to keep news source anonymous Termination of Job/Confidential Settlement
Producers for a national newscast interviewed a federal employee regarding unsafe governmental practices which posed a threat of harm to the public. The federal employee agreed to speak on television regarding the unsafe practices if the media would promise to maintain his confidentiality. The employee granted a broadcast interview in exchange for the specific promise of the media company to disguise both his appearance and his voice so that nobody would be able to determine that he had been the source for the broadcast story regarding unsafe practices. Under a line of decisions based on the Cohen v. Cowles decision, promises of the media to maintain confidentiality are enforceable.
On an evening national news program, the media company broadcast an interview of the employee. Although the media company disguised the employee's appearance, they did not alter or disguise his voice. As a result of the failure of the media company to honor its promise of confidentiality, the federal employee, who had a lengthy and unblemished work history, was fired. He was unable to continue in his chosen profession, and lost substantial income and employee benefits.
After a lengthy negotiation process, including an extended mediation, the parties were able to settle the claims under a strict confidentiality agreement. The claims were settled just prior to the filing of a civil action.
Pregnancy Diagnosis Error wins $1.2 Million
Plaintiff, age 27, was 6 weeks pregnant at which time she was sent by her obstetrician to a radiologist for an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy size and dates. The radiologist mistakenly diagnosed Plaintiff as having an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. A tubal pregnancy is not capable of being carried to term. Because an ectopic pregnancy will eventually rupture and cause hemorrhage and possibly death, it is medically necessary to terminate such a pregnancy. The radiologist telephoned Dr. Stewart, Plaintiff's treating obstetrician, and informed her of his diagnosis. On the basis of the radiologist's diagnosis, Dr. Stewart administered Methotrexate to Plaintiff in order to terminate what she believed to be an ectopic pregnancy. Methotrexate, a chemotherapy agent, is a drug that is used by obstetricians to terminate ectopic pregnancies without surgery. It interferes with DNA synthesis. As a result, Methotrexate is known to cause birth defects in children born to exposed mothers. After it was discovered that Plaintiff had an intrauterine pregnancy rather than an ectopic pregnancy, she was referred to a maternal-fetal specialist who counseled that, despite the Methotrexate exposure, the chance of birth defects was low. Plaintiff elected to continue the pregnancy. As a result of the Methotrexate exposure, however, the baby was born with multiple birth defects and died after three months as a result of complications caused by a congenital heart problems. Prior to trial, the radiologist and his group settled by payment of the sum of $950,000 and a consent judgment was entered.
Dr. Stewart adamantly denied responsibility and blamed the radiologist for providing the wrong diagnosis. Plaintiffs alleged that Dr. Stewart was negligent in accepting the radiologist's diagnosis without performing any additional tests to confirm the existence of ectopic pregnancy. The challenge that Plaintiffs' counsel faced was convincing the jury that Dr. Stewart was not entitled to rely solely on the diagnosis of the radiologist. Compounding this difficulty were two factors: (1) the radiologist told Dr. Stewart in an emergency phone conversation that he definitely diagnosed an ectopic pregnancy and was in fear that the Plaintiff would rupture without prompt treatment; and (2) Dr. Stewart was a potentially formidable witness as a member of the Georgia Composite State Board of Medical Examiners. Since only two physicians in each specialty sit on this Board, Dr. Stewart was one of only two obstetricians in the State who were Board members. It was clear that Dr. Stewart, represented by one of the top medical malpractice defense lawyers in Georgia, Tom Carlock, was going to try to shift the blame to MedCross in order to exonerate his client.
With the assistance of co-counsel, Kimberly Rabren, Plaintiffs' lead counsel, Wayne Grant, was able to establish that Dr. Stewart was not entitled to rely entirely on the unconfirmed though strongly-expressed diagnosis of the radiologist. Mr. Grant argued that because of the possibility of birth defects posed by administering Methotrexate to a woman who is carrying a normal pregnancy, Dr. Stewart should have performed at least two beta HCG (hormone level) tests prior to administration of the dangerous drug. Mr. Grant argued that at 6 weeks, though a rupture of an ectopic pregnancy can occur, it is unlikely. Mr. Grant also argued that if Dr. Stewart truly believed that rupture was imminent, proper care would have required a surgical termination of the pregnancy (laparoscopic procedure) since the administration of Methotrexate would not eliminate the danger of rupture for several days. Dr. Stewart contended that she had performed a beta HCG hormone test prior to administration of the Methotrexate and that the level was consistent with the existence of an ectopic pregnancy. Through the presentation of independent witnesses, however, Mr. Grant was able to prove that the lab did not issue the test results until after Plaintiff received the drug and was discharged from the hospital, thus making it impossible for Dr. Stewart to have had the readings at the time of administration. In order to cross-examine and impeach Dr. Stewart on this point, Mr. Grant used excerpts from Dr. Stewart's videotape deposition, shown by projector on an oversized screen. Mr. Grant was also able to establish through the cross-examination of Dr. Stewart's expert witnesses that the HCG level obtained, though not available to Dr. Stewart, was significantly higher than the level that one would expect to accompany a 6-week ectopic pregnancy and was more consistent with an intrauterine pregnancy.
As indicated previously, prior to trial, the radiology group defendants settled by payment of the sum of $950,000. One of the conditions of settlement was that the radiologists agree to the entry of formal consent judgment. Obtaining a consent judgment, according to Mr. Grant, was a key factor that allowed his clients to maintain a favorable venue. With the consent judgment in hand, Mr. Grant was able to maintain and conduct the trial Clayton County, the county in which the action was originally filed. Had there not been a consent judgment, after settlement with the radiology group, the case would have been transferred to Gwinnett County, an extremely conservative venue, widely known to be favorable to defendants.
At trial, the jury rendered an award against Dr. Stewart in the amount of $615,000. As a result of the settlement with the radiology group, Dr. Stewart was given a set-off of $380,010. After credit for the set-off, the total recovery obtained was $1,184,990.
Neurosurgeon/Hospital Malpractice Resulting in Paralysis Wins Partial Settlement of $2.2 million - Additional Confidential Settlement with Hospital
Settlement Date: 4-10-02
In the State Court of Clayton County, Georgia
Counsel for Plaintiffs: Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C.
Neurosurgeon performed an anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion at spinal levels C4-5 and C5-6 on patient, age 52. Within two hours following surgery, the hospital nurses noted that patient was unable to move his legs and toes. The inability of a patient to move his legs or toes after cervical spine surgery is a medical emergency and requires an immediate work-up.
Plaintiffs alleged that the neurosurgeon was negligent in failing to order an MRI scan on an emergency basis to determine the cause of the paralysis. An MRI ultimately performed showed that, despite surgery, the spinal compression for which the surgery had been performed had not been relieved. Plaintiffs also alleged that the neurosurgeon was negligent in not performing an emergency decompression surgery to relieve compression that was now causing the patient's inability to move his legs. Plaintiffs contended that the neurosurgeon's failure to perform an emergency decompression surgery caused the patient to suffer permanent incomplete quadriplegia. Patient is unable to walk and has very limited use of his upper extremities. Defendants contended that the neurosurgeon was not negligent the performance of the surgery or in providing care following the surgery. Defendants alleged that they did not commit any acts that caused damage.
Approximately eight months after suit was filed, at such time as the case had appeared on a court calendar with trial imminent, the case was settled for the sum of $2.2 million. Suit against the hospital, based on the failure of the nurses to take steps to obtain another physician to treat the patient in a timely and proper manner, was resolved pursuant to an agreement of confidentiality. No information regarding the terms of settlement may be disclosed.
Death of 2-year-old at DayCare Center Wins $12.5 Million
Verdict Date: March 28, 2002
In the State Court of Gwinnett County, State of Georgia
Counsel for Plaintiffs: Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C.
Twelve days after a day care center was ordered by the State not to permit toddlers to climb on a five-foot climber/slide platform, the day care center allowed a two-year-old boy to climb on the platform and fall, resulting in spinal injury and death. No day care center staff saw the fall. The day care center and the day care center's owner were sued for wrongful death.
At trial, evidence was presented that a State inspection of the day care center, conducted one day after the child's death, found numerous violations, including failing to maintain an adequate child/staff ratio, failing to supervise children at all times, failing to maintain a proper depth-resilient surface beneath playground equipment, and permitting children on equipment that was not age-appropriate. The State permanently revoked the day care center's license to operate following the death of this child.
Prior to the final revocation of the day care center's license to operate, the State had cited the day care center for numerous rule violations including, (1) violating the rule requiring adequate child/staff ratios a total of 8 times; (2) violating the rule requiring that children be supervised at all times a total of 11 times; (3) violating the rule requiring that a proper depth resilient surface be maintained beneath equipment a total of 10 times; (4) failing to have safe and age-appropriate outdoor equipment a total of 6 times. Additionally, the State had previously revoked the day care center's license to operate on the same grounds 5 1/2 months prior to the child's death. At the time of the child's death, the day care facility was operating on a temporary permit pending an appeal of the revocation order.
Following the presentation of evidence, the Court rendered an award in the amount of $12,500,000.00. $2,500,000.00 of this amount was awarded as compensatory damages and $10,000,000.00 of this amount was awarded as punitive damages.
Medical Malpractice / Psychiatric / Wrongful Death: Confidential Settlement.
A sixteen year-old child was treated by a psychiatrist for anxiety disorder and panic attacks. The psychiatrist prescribed a regimen of medications, including 12 mg. of Xanax on a daily basis. This drug in combination with many other drugs that had been prescribed resulted in respiratory arrest and death. In this case, it was our position that the prescriptions issued for this young man were inappropriate and greatly exceeded even the maximum doses recommended by the drug manufacturers for adults. The safety of this drug for use in children, according to the manufacturer, had not been established. This case was settled approximately 8 months after the filing of the lawsuit for a confidential six-figure sum.
Medical Malpractice/Wrongful Death: Confidential settlement.
A 47 year-old type 1 insulin-dependent diabetic was improperly instructed to discontinue taking insulin for a two-day period in order to undergo a routine colonoscopy. The patient developed diabetic ketoacidosis leading to death. The defendant gastroenterologist who was called after the patient had been released failed to appreciate that the patient was vomiting repeatedly and in great pain as the result of the ketoacidosis. The defendant physician, who was on call when telephoned by the patient's wife, was admittedly drinking scotch at a meeting of other gastroenterologists hosted by a pharmaceutical company. The medical examiner called this physician shortly after the patient's death was reported and noted that the physician's speech was slurred. This case was settled for a confidential six-figure sum approximately 1½ years after the filing of the lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice / Wrongful Death /Failure to Diagnose Heart Attack. Verdict: $250,000.00.
We represented the surviving adult children of a 63-year old man who died of an undiagnosed heart attack. This gentleman went to the Georgia Baptist Family Practice Center complaining of unexplained shoulder pain and nausea and vomiting. With a history of heavy smoking (3 to 6 packs of cigarettes per day for a period of 40 years), we contended that he should have been worked up for coronary problems. It is undisputed that left shoulder pain of unexplained origin is a classic indicator of heart attack, as are accompanying nausea and vomiting. Without even putting a stethoscope to the patient's chest, Dr. Brown did not order any lab studies and did not perform an EKG and diagnosed rotator cuff tendonitis and prescribed Phenergan for nausea. Two days later, the patient was found dead on his kitchen floor. The defense contended that he did not have any heart-related symptoms when he left the office. This case is a classic example of why an autopsy must always be performed when there is suspicion of malpractice. The autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was caused by a heart rupture resulting from the heart attack. The jury rendered a verdict against Dr. Brown and the medical practice. Although the autopsy revealed that the patient had undiagnosed lung cancer that would have cut his life short, the jury felt that the premature death by heart attack could have been avoided with proper care.
Automobile Accident / Wrongful Death of infant born prematurely due to hemorrhage produced by collision. Settlement: $190,000.
This was a single vehicle accident. Our client was a passenger in a car that swerved to avoid a car that had crossed the centerline and ended up striking a utility pole. Our client, who was 27 weeks pregnant, suffered placental abruption (hemorrhage surrounding the gestational sac), resulting in premature delivery of her child. Due to a host of problems associated with prematurity, the child died shortly thereafter. In this case of limited available insurance coverage, the defendant denied that she had crossed the centerline turning this matter into a classic "swearing contest" as that term is used in the legal profession. In attempting to battle this denial of responsibility, we went to great efforts to locate an EMT that had come to the scene. He had been on duty in Iraq. Fortunately, we were able to take a sworn deposition in which he stated that the defendant admitted crossing the centerline at the scene of the accident and that she did not deny doing so until after a cell phone conversation with her husband. This case settled in less than one year after the filing of the lawsuit.
Automobile Accident / Appearance Altering Orthopedic Injury. Settlement: $550,000.00.
Female teenager was driving a Honda Passport on the highway when the Defendant changed lanes cutting off her car and striking it. The Honda Passport rolled several times and the teenager sustained an open crush degloving injury to the left hand, wrist, and forearm, including open fractures to the second metacarpal, third metacarpal, and third proximal phalanx, a scalp laceration, and a left knee soft tissue avulsion and laceration. Her medical bills exceeded $60,000.00. State Farm initially represented that there was only one insurance policy in the amount of $100,000.00 to cover the teenager's claims and tendered that amount. We accepted the tender based on the representation that this was the only insurance policy available to satisfy the teenager's claims, but required, as a condition of settlement, that the Defendant sign an Affidavit under oath that this was the only policy. Approximately one month after the initial settlement, State Farm "located" another policy and an additional amount in the amount of $450,000.00 was paid to finally settle the case.
Bus Accident / Shoulder surgery. Verdict: $250,000.00.
Plaintiff, a pharmacist at a local hospital, was injured when a MARTA bus on which he was a passenger slid out of control and struck a curb while on an icy street. MARTA denied liability at trial but the jury disagreed once they learned that MARTA had re-routed the bus to a different route because of the unusual snow and ice storm in Atlanta. Unfortunately, MARTA re-routed the bus to a hilly street that was covered with several inches of ice and posed a much greater risk than the original flat route. Plaintiff was forced to undergo surgery and was unable to work for a significant period of time following his injury.
Medical Malpractice. Confidential settlement.
A woman who had leg fracture and casting developed DVT (deep vein thrombosis). The woman complained of pain and swelling in the area. Due to inactivity and fracture, she was at increased risk for the development of DVT. We claimed that the physician should have performed some testing such as Doppler ultrasound to determine if the woman had developed a clot. She suffered respiratory arrest and almost died when the clot broke loose and traveled to her lungs. The patient suffered emotionally as the result of literally "going to death's door." She also experienced memory and other cognitive problems as the result of oxygen deprivation that had occurred. One of the key factors that resulted in a confidential settlement was the fact that the emergency room physician testified that the possibility of DVT should have been investigated earlier based on the patient's symptoms. Although the emergency room physician was not a retained expert for our client, on cross-examination he was unable to avoid criticizing the level of care provided by the defendant. This testimony was in great part responsible for our being able to resolve this case in a traditionally conservative rural venue, i.e., Habersham County.
Pharmacy Error / Medical Malpractice. Confidential settlement.
A fourteen-month-old boy was given an overdose of Augmentin as result of physician error and failure of pharmacy to note error. As a result, the child now suffers chronic clostridium difficile enteritis and nodular lymphoid hyperplasia resulting in severe diarrhea and bloody stools (intestinal bleeding). Antibiotic use has and will likely result in recurrent episodes of diarrhea and bloody stools and should be avoided. In this case, we were able to uncover records that indicated that the prescribing physician had requested the pharmacy to destroy the original prescription once he appreciated his error. An alteration in medical records or an attempt to destroy records, if discovered, has an immensely negative impact upon a physician's credibility. Both the physician and pharmacy have resolved this matter by the payment of confidential settlements.
Negligent injury during birth / Medical Malpractice. Confidential settlement for minor.
Medical malpractice action arising out of nurse midwife's negligent delivery of infant causing a brachial plexus injury and resultant Erb's palsy resulting in permanent disability to the child's arm. The nurse midwife failed to use proper techniques to deliver the child without injury after encountering shoulder dystocia, a condition where the mother's pelvis is inadequate to allow delivery of the infant's shoulders. This case was settled approximately 1 year after the filing of the lawsuit.
Automobile Collision / Orthopedic Injury.
Confidential settlement. Significant orthopedic injury requiring extensive surgery in a case where the other driver crossed the centerline and struck the client head-on. This case was settled approximately 1 year after the filing of the lawsuit.
Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer / Medical Malpractice action against prominent HMO.
Failure to diagnose breast cancer resulting in a 14-month delay and spread of the cancer to 22/22 lymph nodes. We alleged that initial scans revealed a mass that should have been subjected to biopsy and that the delay in diagnosis significantly affected the patient's prognosis and chances of recurrence. This case was settled approximately 1 year after the filing of the lawsuit.
Hospital Fall. Settlement: $100,000.
Woman fractured coccyx upon falling in shower as the result of a defective shower seat that separated from the wall following back surgery.