BIRMINGHAM, ALA. – September 17, 2009 – Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP announced today that a Chambers County jury has returned a $1.75 million verdict in a wrongful death suit against Lanier Memorial Hospital that is believed to be the first medical malpractice verdict in Chambers County. The jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Michelle Coulter as Administratrix of the Estate of Cynthia Renee Strong, who sued for the wrongful death of her sister, Cynthia Strong, who died on May 2, 2004.
The suit alleged that nurses at Lanier Memorial Hospital negligently failed to follow the existing “Chain of Command” procedures following an order by Dr. Swaroop Nyshadham to release Cynthia Strong, in spite of an extremely elevated white blood cell count. Dr. Nyshadham believed the lab results to be in error and stated he would repeat the test on the following day. The “Chain of Command” required that the nurses take appropriate action to insure that the patient gets safe care and treatment. The plaintiff alleged that Cynthia Strong required intravenous antibiotics and should not have been discharged. They further contended that it was dangerous to discharge Cynthia Strong, which resulted in her death. Approximately sixteen hours after her discharge, Cynthia Strong died; an autopsy indicated her death was due to peritonitis and septic shock.
Birmingham-based Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton and Chambers County attorney Chuck Reynolds represented the plaintiff in the historic case. Shay Samples, lead counsel with Hare Wynn Newell and Newton, stated that he was pleased with the verdict and thought that the jury had reached a fair and just result.
“Although no amount of money can assuage the loss of a loved one, we are very pleased with the jury’s decision. The health care providers chose not to follow their internal, well-established, existing protocols with regard to patient care. Sadly, this was a preventable tragedy; Cynthia would have survived with proper treatment,” stated Samples.