Emory Healthcare faces lawsuit over severe brain injury in hospital patient

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Decatur, GA — The lawsuit is set to begin this week against Emory Clinic and Emory Healthcare over allegations that medical negligence caused catastrophic brain damage to a Georgia woman during a hospital stay in 2015. Tatum v. The Emory Clinic and Emory Healthcare, Inc., 16A60933.

According to case documents, Jeni Carswell was admitted to Emory Johns Creek Hospital in June 2015, after complaining of severe abdominal pain. Carswell’s mother, Sharon Tatum, claims her daughter was three nights after admission when staff monitoring her for an early morning blood test discovered she was unresponsive and not breathing. Tatum maintains that Carswell was intubated but ultimately suffered profound brain damage from the respiratory arrest.

Tatum says her daughter had a range of health conditions that increased her risk of respiratory arrest, including morbid obesity, a seizure disorder and sleep apnea. She claims Carswell caregivers did not provide her with BiPAP breathing support, despite knowing she needed the device for her sleep apnea. Tatum also claims that staff did not continuously monitor Carswell’s breathing and pulse, despite her medical history and the fact that she was on medication known to depress breathing.

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The economic losses alone could well exceed $35 million, according to the plaintiff’s estimates in the pre-trial order. That estimate includes a lifetime care plan that projects treatment costs between $14.2 million and $29.28 million, though court documents say the plan can be completed.

Emory argues that medical staff followed the proper standard of care when treating Carswell and disputes Tatum’s claim for damages.

The plaintiff is represented by Kurle | Jennifer Kurle and Steven Justus of Justus and Lloyd Bell and Daniel Holloway of the Bell law firm, according to court documents.

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

The trial in the case, in DeKalb County state court before Judge Mike Jacobs, is expected to last five to seven days, with openings scheduled for Thursday. CVN is broadcasting the hammer to hammer trial and will provide updates on its news page.

Email Arlin Crisco at [email protected].

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