Georgia Hospital Ordered to Pay $26 Million in Medical Malpractice Case
Sandra Williams needed neck surgery after she ran a 5k race in October 2012. However, rather than successfully repairing the issues in her neck, the surgery left her severely disabled. Ms. Williams filed suit against the surgeons who performed the surgery and the hospital in Georgia where it occurred.
The case went to trial, where a judge and jury listened to testimony and examined evidence for two weeks. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury decided that St. Francis Hospital and its surgeons were 100 percent at fault for Ms. Williams’ injuries, calculating the damages as $26 million.
Ms. Williams’ attorney explained, “Sandy is now blind, she’s restricted to [a] wheelchair, she’s got very little function in her legs, she has a hard time grasping with her hands.” He further explained that she “…went to get a neck fusion surgery which went well…, but the following day she couldn’t swallow.”
The day after Williams’ surgery, she complained that she had trouble swallowing. It appeared that a large bubble was resting on her windpipe, and her attorneys argued that this is what caused her trouble. Dr. Erik Westerlund, they allege, decided not to take action about Williams’ difficulty swallowing because she was not having any trouble breathing. Williams was discharged and went home, but she continued to have problems swallowing.
Her attorney noted that Williams “…came back to the emergency room in the early morning of October 20th and her neck was swollen, she couldn’t swallow, she had pain, she had [a] gurgling noise when she tried to swallow…, she couldn’t swallow her own saliva.” This was just three days after her neck surgery.
It was six long hours before Dr. Westerlund saw Williams. The hospital policy requires that doctors see patients within two hours. The expert witness who testified on behalf of Williams explained what went wrong, commenting, “Intervene soon, [do] not wait [until] the breathing gets in trouble…there’s almost a 100 percent chance that the patient will go home and be fine.”
Unfortunately, Williams did not receive the care she needed at St. Francis Hospital. Now, she requires constant care, as she has lost her independence. Sadly, Williams’ husband also passed away while she fought her lawsuit. However, Williams continues to smile and keep her head up.
The hospital has decided not to appeal the decision, meaning it will pay the multi-million dollar verdict.
Medical malpractice happens every day in the United States
Of course, medical malpractice is not limited to the State of Georgia. It occurs every day throughout the United States, and Ohio is no exception. Medical errors have been cited as the third leading cause of death in the United States, outranked only by heart disease and cancer. If you have been injured by a medical professional in Ohio, you should act quickly to ensure your legal rights are protected. In general, Ohio only allows one year to file a medical malpractice claim against a doctor or other medical professional. When you must act this quickly, it is important to hire medical malpractice attorneys with years of experience and a strong sense of dedication to their clients.
If you were harmed by a medical professional, contact our skilled Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys today
At The Eisen Law Firm, our Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys have helped injured medical negligence victims since 1976. We work hard to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve as allowed by Ohio law. To schedule your free consultation with our attorneys, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online. There are deadlines in place which limit how long injured claimants have to file medical negligence cases, so contact us as soon as possible.