MIAMI — A South Florida law firm
recently helped an Arkansas family win a $46.5 million settlement in
a medical-malpractice case.
According to a report
by the Daily Business Review, the Smalls family had sued Dr.
Johnathan Lewis and Ouachita County Medical Center in Camden,
Arkansas. The family accused them of negligence when their baby,
Kara, was born.
Kara was born with jaundice and, because it was
not treated appropriately, bilirubin — a substance presence at high
levels is indicated in the blood by jaundice — entered her brain,
causing permanent damage.
Stuart Ratzan and Stuart Weissman of
the Ratzan Law Group in Miami represented
the family, along with Kimberly Boldt and Mario Giommoni of The Boldt
Law Firm in Boca Raton and Jim Lyons of Lyons & Cone in
The Smalls’ previous child was born in
Tampa and went
through phototherapy, which is a common treatment used to cut
down on high levels of bilirubin, according to Web
A jury in Union
County in Arkansas, where the two-week trial was conducted, filed
on March 9.
Deirdre Gilbert, the national director at the National
Medical Malpractice Advocacy Association, told the Florida Record
that when it comes to medical malpractice, the case represented a
“In the present medical system, many
cases do not find their way to a courtroom, so in terms of this award
I am glad to see it moved through,” she said. “If you relate that
to the cost on a human life being destroyed, this would not suffice
because it is really hard to determine the cost of life.”
are several cases where these things are appealed, but the evidence
of a 'live' toddler makes it very difficult to refute these
allegations,” she said. “Florida has several laws as it relates
to medical malpractice, but there is no limit on the amount of
compensation a medical-malpractice plaintiff can recover for past and
future medical care necessitated by the malpractice, lost income,
lost future earning capacity, and any other measurable economic
losses attributable to the defendant’s malpractice. In the case of
someone who is not alive, attorneys usually ask for the judge to
lower the amount of the compensation to that of the caps of that
“There is a joy that the family received justice, but we
are hoping that we can stop the harm, and if not, then all can
team for the Ouachita County Medical Center included Jamie Estes
of Cox, Cox & Estes in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Paul McNeill of
Reece, Moore, McNeill & Pendergraft in Fayetteville, Arkansas;
and John Hall and Nichole Hair of Hall Booth Smith in Atlanta. Lewis
was represented by Moore, McNeill & Pendergraft.