$21.98 Million Jury Verdict for Brain Damaged Patient Caused by the Medical Negligence of a Pain Specialist Physician

Gwendolyn Brown was a 50-year-old woman who had been suffering from back pain. She underwent three epidural steroid injections that were given by a pain specialist, Dr. Dennis Doherty, at the Southeastern Pain Ambulatory Surgery Center. During the third epidural procedure, which was done under conscious sedation, it became difficult for the doctor and assistants to maintain Brown’s airway, and she stopped breathing for periods of times. Dr. Doherty and his nursing assistant continued with the procedure, even though his patient was not breathing from time to time.

Brown was later transferred to a hospital where she was diagnosed as having severe anoxic brain damage, which is the condition that follows a period of time when the brain is not fully or sufficiently oxygenated. Most severely brain damaged patients lose many cognitive and motor functions that include speech, sight, walking and other extremely debilitating deficits. Unfortunately, Brown died six years later. She was survived by her husband and three adult children.

Brown’s husband on behalf of her estate and family sued the surgery center, Dr. Doherty and his employer for medical negligence alleging failure to timely respond to an emergency situation during the epidural procedure — that period of time when Brown was unable to breath. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants should have turned Brown over from the prone position, provided a bag mask and started CPR in light of her critical oxygen status.

The jury’s verdict of $21.98 million apportioned liability at 50% to Dr. Doherty, 30% to the surgery center and 20% to Dr. Doherty’s employer.

The attorneys representing the Brown family who must be complimented on a fabulous result in this tragic case were James N. Sadd, Daniel M. Epstein, Edward Wynn and Audrey Tolson.

Brown v. Southeastern Pain Specialist, PC, No. 2010-EV-010621-J (Ga. St. Ct. Fulton County, Jan. 26, 2015).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling hospital negligence cases, medical malpractice cases, physician negligence cases and birth injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Hinsdale, Homewood, Flossmoor, Bensenville, Antioch, Chicago (Wicker Park, Rogers Park, Jefferson Park, Garfield Park), Long Grove, Libertyville and Lincolnshire, Ill.

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