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Justice, Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue

Katherine Garcia, left, and her sister, Johanna Garcia, at their home in Norwalk. They are the daughters of Enrique Garcia, who died in December 2017 after a medical procedure at South Coast Global Medical Center.
Source: Los Angeles Times

Enrique Garcia Sanchez went to the hospital in severe pain and was admitted after being diagnosed with pancreatitis. A month later, he could not swallow, and Dr. Essam Quraishi inserted a feeding tube.

That’s the moment everything changed. According to an LA Times article, the feeding tube that Quraishi inserted “accidentally pierced Sanchez’s colon and led to a fatal infection.” His death certificate identified “sepsis and peritonitis due to a tube-perforated colon” as the cause of death.

The Trial

Mr. Sanchez’s family, convinced that he was the victim of medical malpractice, filed suit. They, along with their attorneys, believed that they had irrefutable evidence that the doctor’s medical error was the direct cause of death.

However, after deliberating for a mere 26 minutes, the jury determined that Dr. Quraishi was not responsible for Mr. Sanchez’s death.

The Boast

The verdict itself is enough to make a person scratch their head, but the story didn’t end there. According to a celebration video, Robert McKenna III, the lawyer for Dr. Quraishi, remarked that he had won a case about “a guy that was probably negligently killed, but we kind of made it look like other people did it. And we had a death certificate that said he died the very way the plaintiff said he died, and we had to say, ‘No, you really shouldn’t believe what that death certificate says, or the coroner from the Orange County coroner’s office.’”

While some may say that this lawyer was just being a lawyer, - McKenna’s disclosure that “justice wasn’t done” led to a surprising, but justified, turn of events.

The Retrial

His revelations resulted in the presiding judge’s decision to send the case back to court. At a hearing, Orange County Superior Court Judge James Crandall acknowledged, “I think I have to protect the system and say plaintiffs deserve a new trial.”

Judge Crandall also identified several possible reasons that may have impacted the jury’s deliberations, if you can call them that:

Without a doubt, however, it is McKenna’s words that made the biggest impact on Crandall’s decision.

Will Justice Be Served?

That’s the $10 million-dollar question (the amount that the victim’s family seeks). It appears that despite some maneuvering by the defense attorney in the initial trial, the truth did bubble to the surface. Regardless of how the information made its way into the public, the fact remains that a doctor is responsible for committing a fatal error. We can only hope that the next trial will result in a better outcome for the family.

Thank goodness for the judge who recognized that the purpose of a trial is not for the best lawyer to win, but for justice to be served. In this case, the defendant’s own lawyer clearly stated that he should have been punished, that he had indeed committed medical malpractice.

At the same time, this story only reinforces just how important it is to hire attorneys who not only have their client’s best interests in mind but also have the integrity, expertise, and resources to do what is necessary in order to prove that medical malpractice has occurred and to get results.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice or negligence, please contact our experienced Cleveland malpractice lawyers to discuss your options for legal recourse and for obtaining the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call 216-287-0900 or contact us online today.