Gwinnett Jury Returns $5 Million Verdict

Case Caption: Ellen Wadsworth v. Gregory Howland and Georgia Em-I Medical Services, Civil Action File Number 10-C-13313-F4
Court: Superior Court of Gwinnett County
Judge: Honorable Joseph Iannazzone
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Virgil Adams, Jarome Gautreaux, Gautreaux & Adams, Macon; Tracey Dellacona, Dellacona Law Firm, Macon.
Defendants’ Attorneys: Alan Herman, Jennifer Mills, Hawkins Parnell, Atlanta
Alleged Damages:  Medical negligence resulting in double amputation
Verdict: $5,000,000
Date of Verdict:  September 22, 2012

Summary:
On November 27, 2008, 61-year-old Plaintiff woke up in severe pain and was transported by ambulance to the Houston County Medical Center.  Despite her tremendous pain and inability to ambulate, Defendant Physician’s Assistant diagnosed her with a skin infection and sent her home with pain medication and antibiotics.  Later that day, Plaintiff’s family found her unresponsive and she was again transported by ambulance to Houston County where they diagnosed her with blockages in both legs that subsequently resulted in bilateral amputations.

Interestingly, Judge Iannazzone let the jury decide whether to apply a stringent gross negligence standard or the more relaxed ordinary care standard.  Plaintiffs successfully persuaded the jury that the lower standard of care was applicable because the statute, O.C.G.A §51-1-29.5, excludes patients in stable condition, even if they are being treated in the emergency room.

After a six day trial, the jury awarded Plaintiff $5 million for the misdiagnosis.

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