An Etowah County jury today returned a $20 million verdict against HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Gadsden in a medical malpractice case. The case was tried by MRB attorneys David Marsh and Rip Andrews. They were assisted by co-counsel Bruce Downey.
The verdict grew out of the wrongful death of its patient, 79-year-old Doris Green. Mrs. Green was discovered in the early morning hours of July 5, 2011, unresponsive with decreased reparations and an oxygen saturation of 70–tell tale signs of opiate overdose.
Mrs. Green was rushed to Gadsden Regional Medical Center. En route, she was found to have pinpoint-non-reactive pupils, another key sign. Upon arrival at GRMC, she responded repeatedly to Narcan, the opiate antidote. Two drug screens then revealed she had received opiates, even though she had no prescription for opiates and was not supposed to get them. Mrs. Green spent nearly all of her next 100 days of life in the hospital, never recovered and died.
Healthsouth defended the case by claiming that Mrs. Green could not have received opiates because there were no opiates in her chart.
According to Rip, “medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America. When they happen, healthcare corporations need to take responsibility for their actions. If they refuse to investigate and change their practices, juries will hold them accountable”.