$150K Settlement Offer Turns Into $4M Verdict in Med Mal Case

Patients typically trust their doctors and expect that they will provide the best care possible. They are human, however, and sometimes make mistakes. If that happens, they would be expected to own up to it and then do whatever they can to fix the mistake. In the case of Lloyd Bell’s client, she suffered a fall which caused a broken ankle, and learned that surgery would be required. Dr Bryan Russell of Village Medical Group performed an ORIF on her left ankle, and when she had her first post-op visit, she explained that she was having pain throughout her foot, ankle, and calf, as well as nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath. She was eventually diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). She sought a second opinion from Dr Erroll Bailey of Resurgens Orthopaedics due to the constant stabbing, burning pain as well as numbness and tingling in her left lower leg. He diagnosed her with a superficial peroneal nerve injury caused by either a traction injury or a cut to the nerve at the proximal end of her incision. Once he went in to do surgery, he confirmed that the nerve had been cut during the prior surgery, and took photos as evidence of the severed nerve. 

This case hinged more on the quality of care provided after the first surgery because Bell’s client repeatedly told the doctor about the pain she was suffering, but he downplayed it and indicated in his notes that she was improving when that was not the case. Although the second surgery was performed to try to help mitigate future pain, Bell’s client would likely continue to experience pain for the rest of her life. The defense offered $150K, so Bell came to Focus Graphics for a colorization of the pre- and post-op imaging to show the placement of the hardware and that it was not fixed properly, which may have contributed to her pain. After only a few hours of deliberation, the jury returned a $4 million verdict in favor of Bell’s client. 

Comparison of pre- and post-op imaging of a broken ankle

We needed something fairly late in the process to show the jury the placement of the hardware and how that may have been a factor in the onset of our client’s CRPS. Focus Graphics came through with a comparison of the before and after surgery imaging that was very helpful at trial. This was our first experience using Focus Graphics and I was impressed with their professionalism and quick turnaround. We are already discussing how they can help us on some of our other cases.

Attorney Lloyd Bell

~Lloyd Bell, Esq., Atlanta, GA | Bell Law Firm


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