Aiken Regional Medical Centers has been ordered to pay almost $14 million in damages to a triple amputee patient in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Aiken Regional Medical Centers has been ordered to pay almost $14 million in damages to a triple amputee patient in a medical malpractice lawsuit. 54 year old Seletha Gartrell filed the suit against Aiken after she lost both of her legs just above the knee, her left arm below the elbow and fingers from her right hand due to what she claims was negligent care of doctors who failed to properly diagnose symptoms of Sepsis. Sepsis is the presence of harmful bacteria and toxins in body tissues normally due to infection. If not treated right away, the condition can cause extreme bodily harm and even death.
The jury found Aiken Regional Medical Centers to be guilty of negligence and medical malpractice, and entered a verdict in which they ordered the facility to pay Gartrell $10 million in financial damages and $3.75 million in non-financial damages.
A statement released by Aiken following the verdict indicated the woman’s amputations had to do with the state of her condition upon entering the facility. The center adamantly argues medical personnel did everything they could to try to save her life. “The patient entered our facility with two life threatening conditions, one of which led to cardiac arrest. We strongly disagree with the jury’s decision. Our nursing staff and physicians gave her the best of care that saved her life.”
Gatrell’s attorneys Johnny Felder and Chad McGowan could not disagree more. They responded, “The jury’s verdict is not only reasonable, considering the nature and extent of harm in this case, the verdict is actually somewhat conservative. Our client was left as a triple amputee as a result of the nurses’ conduct at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. Mrs. Gartrell is a wonderful lady, who prior to these events was working full time and had a very active lifestyle. The injuries caused at the hospital have devastated Mrs. Gartrell and her family. Hopefully this verdict will force the hospital to take a close look at how certain things are done and monitored in their Emergency Room and ICU units.”
The lawsuit detailed the events during Gartrell’s stay. The morning of December 6, 2012, Gartrell was admitted to Aiken already with a severe case of Sepsis, which quickly progressed to Septic Shock, a significant drop in blood pressure that can lead to respiratory or heart failure, stroke and failure of other organs. She was near death and clearly requiring immediate medical attention.
According to the lawsuit, however, Gartrell was not ordered the proper antibiotics until a full 14 hours after admission, and she wasn’t even not seen by a physician until five hours after her arrival. Around midnight the following day, on December 7th, Gatrell went into cardiac arrest, her limbs showing signs of deterioration, and was eventually transferred to Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), where she underwent the triple amputation. Had she been properly treated from the get go, Gatrell and her attorneys believe the patient’s limbs may have been saved, therefore, allowing her to sustain a much higher quality of life.