Jury Awards Over $19M in Medical Malpractice Case

A Dallas County jury delivered a $19.7 million verdict against Dr. Jennifer Burris and her employer, Acute Surgical Care Specialists, for the wrongful death of Ms. Katina Clark. Prior to her death, Ms. Clark lived in a permanent vegetative state for a year and a half following the brain damage she sustained as a patient.

Ms. Clark worked at Medical Center Arlington as a surgical technician since 2005. In the summer of 2013, she was admitted to the facility due to leg numbness. Physicians diagnosed her with Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is a medical condition that affects the nervous system. Patients with Guillain-Barre syndrome occasionally suffer muscle weakness that requires mechanical ventilation to assist with breathing. Most patients fully recover.

A breathing tube was inserted through Ms. Clark’s mouth. Eventually, this tube was removed and Ms. Clark underwent a tracheostomy procedure, which involved an incision being made in the neck, with a tube inserted through it. Prior to the procedure, Ms. Clark was neurologically intact.

At trial, Ms. Clark’s family presented evidence that showed the trachea insertion caused Ms. Clark to not receive enough air and that Dr. Burris failed to properly monitor her or fix the leak. Eventually, the leaking tube became misplaced and Ms. Clark did not receive oxygen for 35 minutes. As a result, Ms. Clark suffered severe brain damage. After spending a year and a half in a nursing home, Ms. Clark passed away in January 2015. She is survived by her husband and two young children.

When someone is injured or dies due to a health care provider’s negligence, financial recovery may be available. Such recovery is particularly important when permanent, life changing injuries are incurred. It is important to contact someone who understands the intricacies of the party’s right to recover.

Medical malpractice is a difficult area of law as it requires an understanding of both the legal practice and the mechanics of medicine. Abraham Watkins offers a free consultation to anyone wishing to pursue such claims.