Sunday, March 07, 2010

A Video that's a Must See (GA, Nestlehutt Malpractice Case)

WE THE PEOPLE from Georgia Justice on Vimeo.

This is a video that discussed Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery v. Nestlehutt, which challenges the provisions of Senate Bill 3, passed in 2005 by the Georgia General Assembly, that caps noneconomic damages that a jury may award to a victim of medical malpractice at $350,000.00.

The case arose from a medical malpractice claim filed by Adam Malone and Frank Ilardi on behalf of their clients Betty Nestlehutt and her husband Bruce Nestlehutt in the Fulton County State Court in October of 2008. Married for over 50 years, the Nestlehutts raised two children and they shared a real estate business. Bruce handled the behind-the-scenes work, and Betty, a people-person by nature, focused on client and public interaction. Competition was tough and as Betty aged she found that more and more clients seemed to prefer younger agents. So, at seventy-one years of age, Betty Nestlehutt, after much thought and consideration, sought consultation with Dr. Harvey P. Cole of Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, P.C. concerning bags under her eyes and lines around her mouth. Dr. Cole recommended she undergo several surgical procedures including a simultaneous CO2 laser resurfacing and full facelift.

Having both the CO2 laser resurfacing and full facelift done together is well-known by practicing cosmetic surgeons to be risky, as the chance of damaging the facial blood supply is greatly increased on a patient of Betty’s age and complexion. However, based on her doctor’s recommendation, Betty went through the combination of procedures and the blood supply to her face was, in fact, severely damaged.

After the surgery, the skin on Betty’s face struggled to live without its usual blood supply and after a 3-week period, died completely, leaving the once fair-skinned wife and mother with huge, gaping wounds from her temple to her jaw line, covering both sides of her face and over both of her cheeks to her chin. Betty Nestlehutt’s face, quite literally, fell off.

In the Nestlehutt case, a Fulton County, Georgia jury awarded Mrs. Nestlehutt well over $350,000.00 for permament injuries she received to her body due to medical malpractice by her physicians. After a trial, the Fulton County jury found Mrs. Nestlehutt's case to be meritorious and awarded her substantially more than the $350,000.00 cap. When judgment was about to be entered, however, the Fulton County trial court judge ruled that the cap of $350,000.00 found in SB3 was unconstitutional.

Expect a decision on this case soon.