$5 Million for the Amputation of Both Legs

Our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys read about the case of 61 year old Ellen Wadsworth from Warner Robins. She went to Houston Medical Center on Thanksgiving in 2008 because of severe pain in her feet, according to news reports. Ms. Wadsworth was misdiagnosed and released. Later that same night, she was taken back to the hospital after suffering a heart attack, and it was then that doctors discovered she had blocked arteries in both of her legs and both legs had to be amputated below her knees. This traumatic and radical surgery left her basically a prisoner in her own home. Prosthetic legs are too painful for her to use at her age and she lives in an apartment that is not handicap accessible and has no access to a handicap accessible vehicle, either.

Ms. Wadsworth sued Gregory Howland, the physician’s assistant who misdiagnosed her, as well as the doctor who signed off on the diagnosis, Dr. Paul Paustian, and their employer, Georgia EM-I Medical Services, PC. She sought damages for pain and suffering and for future medical expenses. The lawsuit claimed that Howland “ordered no tests or procedures to determine whether Ms. Wadsworth had blockages in the arteries of her legs”, even though they had found she had a “diminished pulse” in her legs. She claimed that in the hours between when she first went to the hospital and when she was brought back after her heart attack, there was time for a proper diagnosis and swift treatment that could have saved her legs. Attorneys for Howland, Dr. Paustian, and Georgia EM-I claimed Howland checked for blocked arteries and didn’t find any, and also that Ms Wadsworth had pre-existing vascular disease. The trial was in Gwinnett County and in 2012 a jury awarded Ms. Wadsworth $5 million in damages.

Howland, Dr. Paustian, and Georgia EM-I Medical Services appealed the judgment claiming errors in the jury instructions. They claimed that the trial judge confused the jury with the jury instructions. They said it was wrong to allow the jury to decide whether Ms. Wadsworth’s situation fell under the “emergency medical care” provision of the law. And the defendants also claimed that the trial judge was incorrect in rejecting their motion for directed verdict, because Ms. Wadsworth failed at trial to show “gross negligence by clear and convincing evidence” as is required.

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Last week the Court of Appeals of Georgia decided the case of Howland v. Wadsworth. The Court found no issues of reversible error and upheld the judgment and $5 million award from the trial court for Ms. Wadsworth.

Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you or a family member has been injured by a negligent medical professional, the personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter, PC can help you understand your situation and whether to move forward with legal action to get compensation. To discuss your situation, call the Law Office today at 404-991-5950, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.

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