Dallas Doc Hit With $19.7M Verdict After Patient Death
When a North Texas woman died as the result of her doctor’s negligence, the hospital refused to accept responsibility. Chris Hamilton was able to get the woman’s husband and two small children the compensation they deserved.
In the summer of 2013, Katina Clark began feeling numbness in her legs. After visiting a doctor, she learned she was suffering from Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder that attacks the nervous system. The disease causes muscle weakness, making it difficult to breath, and those who suffer from it often need the help of a ventilator. With the proper medical care, most people who suffer from GBS make a full recovery.
Katina was employed by Acute Surgical Care Specialists, and worked at Medical Center Arlington (MCA) as a surgical technician. After being diagnosed, she was admitted to MCA for treatment. Jennifer Burris, Katina’s doctor, made a small incision in her neck and inserted a tracheostomy tube, which allowed her to breath.
Something’s Not Right
A short time later it was discovered that the tube hadn’t been inserted properly and Katina was getting less than half the air she needed to survive. Dr. Burris failed to properly monitor the situation, and the leak went unrepaired. The next morning, a nurse turned Katina over without the proper help, and the tube became dislodged.
Katina went without oxygen for over 35 minutes, causing irreparable brain damage and leaving her in a vegetative state. She was put in a nursing home for over a year until she died in January of 2015.
Going to Trial
While several defendants were named in the lawsuit, all except Dr. Burris and Acute Surgical Care Specialists chose to settle before it began. Katina’s family was represented by Chris Hamilton and Stephen Blackburn. As the trial progressed, evidence was presented showing that Katina’s tracheostomy was performed incorrectly. It was also shown that, despite knowing something was wrong, the hospital did nothing to correct it. There was no reason Katina couldn’t have recovered from her illness, and the evidence showed her death could have been prevented.
The trial lasted more than two weeks. Once all was said and done, it took the jury less than three hours to hand down its verdict. Hamilton and Blackburn were able to win a sizeable award to ensure that Katina’s husband, Caden, would be able to care for their two small children. More importantly, they were able to send a message to hospitals and doctors everywhere about the importance of properly caring for their patients.