Emory Healthcare Faces Trial Over Hospital Patient's Severe Brain Injury

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Jun 8, 2022 3:57:16 PM

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Decatur, GA— Trial is slated to open this week against The Emory Clinic and Emory Healthcare over claims that medical negligence caused a Georgia woman’s catastrophic brain damage during a 2015 hospital stay. Tatum v. The Emory Clinic and Emory Healthcare, Inc., 16A60933. 

According to documents in the case, Jeni Carswell was admitted to Emory Johns Creek Hospital in June 2015, after she complained of severe abdominal pain. Carswell’s mother, Sharon Tatum, contends her daughter was three nights into her admission when staff checking on her for a morning blood draw discovered she was unresponsive and not breathing. Tatum contends Carswell was intubated but ultimately suffered profound brain damage from the respiratory arrest. 

Tatum claims her daughter had a range of health issues that increased her chance of respiratory arrest, including morbid obesity, a seizure disorder, and sleep apnea. She maintains the staff treating Carswell failed to provide her with BiPAP breathing support, despite knowing she needed the device for her sleep apnea. Tatum also claims staff failed to continuously monitor Carswell’s breathing and pulse, despite her medical history and the fact that she was receiving medication known to depress breathing. 

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Economic losses alone could run well over $35 million, according to estimates by the plaintiff in the case’s pre-trial order. That estimate includes a life care plan that predicts treatment costs running between $14.2 million to $29.28 million, though court documents note the plan may be supplemented. 

Emory contends medical staff followed the appropriate standard of care while treating Carswell, and challenges Tatum’s damage claim. 

The plaintiff is represented by Kurle | Justus’ Jennifer Kurle and Steven Justus and Bell Law Firm’s Lloyd Bell and Daniel Holloway, according to court documents. 

The defense is represented by Bendin Sumrall & Ladner’s David Ladner and Alan Payne and Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell’s John Fitzpatrick.

Trial in the case, in DeKalb County State Court, before Judge Mike Jacobs, is expected to last five to seven days, with openings expected Thursday. CVN is streaming the trial gavel-to-gavel and will provide updates on its news page. 

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Topics: Medical Malpractice, Georgia, Tatum v. The Emory Clinic, et al.