$2.3 Million Dollar Jury Verdict for Mother and Son for Botched Circumcision

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The law firms of Edmond Jones Lindsay LLP and Johnson & Ward successfully litigated a catastrophic injury case for a four-year old boy in Atlanta, GA after a botched circumcision severed approximately 30%-40% of the head of the child's penis. A Fulton County State Court in Georgia jury awards $2.3 million in damages for baby and his mother from negligence of both the obstetrician and the pediatrician.

To say that this was an unfortunate situation is a gross understatement

A 23-year-old mother will be able to pay medical bills for psychiatric counseling to assist her young son in adjusting to the permanent injury to his penis caused by a negligently performed routine circumcision.

Following the birth of Baby B, the boy's obstetrician, Dr. Haiba Sonyika, circumcised him and severed approximately 30%-40% of the head of his penis. His pediatrician, Dr. Cheryl J. Kendall, was called by a nurse about the injury but failed to go examine the child, thereby forfeiting any opportunity for the amputation to be reattached. Both doctors, as well as the hospital, were named as defendants in the malpractice lawsuit.

A Fulton County Georgian State Court jury assessed a total of $2.3 million-dollar in damages for four-year-old Baby B and his mother, resulting from the negligence of both the obstetrician and the pediatrician. The hospital, South Fulton Medical Center, which was also named in the suit, was not found liable. Civil Action File No. 2006EV001125-J.

The boy's mother, who asked not to be identified in order to protect her family's privacy, stated, "I am satisfied with the verdict, and I am pleased that my son will be able to get the help he needs to help him through the healing process following his injury. My son was a victim. And, I just pray that the damage done to him can be fixed through some medical miracle."

After the injury, the child's mother sought legal help from Roderick E. Edmond, M.D. J.D. with the Atlanta law firm of Edmond Jones Lindsay LLP (EJL). Craig T. Jones, a partner with EJL, took the lead on the case. Mr. Jones then recruited the assistance of David J. Llewellyn, partner with the Atlanta law firm of Johnson & Ward, due to his years of experience trying cases dealing with botched circumcisions and other urogenital injuries. "We see many medical blunders in our work, but this baby boy had been mutilated. He may require additional surgeries and definitely will need many hours of psychotherapy to address this problem as he grows into manhood," said Dr. Edmond.

According to Attorney Jones, "The verdict was fair, given the seriousness of the injury. Spread over the child's life expectancy, the jury gave him approximately $75 per day for a disfiguring and disabling injury that will last a lifetime. More importantly, had the injury occurred today, the most he could have been compensated for this horrific injury is $350,000 under the tort reform legislation enacted in 2005."

Attorney Llewellyn was the lead attorney during the 2 week trial. The jury deliberated for 2 days before reaching its verdict. At trial, plaintiffs' experts charged that Dr. Sonyika negligently performed the circumcision, negligently failed to appreciate the severity of the injury, negligently failed to inform appropriate medical personnel about the injury and negligently failed to take proper steps to retain and preserve the severed tissue. A nurse retrieved the tissue from the circumcision tray and placed it in a plastic biohazard bag. "She (the nurse) believed the tip of the penis had been severed and was in the tissue she had kept," said Llewellyn.

The nurse called Dr. Cheryl Kendall, the pediatrician with We Care Pediatric & Adolescent Group, Inc., and told her about the suspected injury. According to the hospital records, Dr. Kendall merely ordered the nurse to leave the gauze bandage in place and to observe the child. Dr. Kendall failed to call back to check on the baby for over an hour and a half. When contacted again, Dr. Kendall consulted with another doctor and ordered the placement of a special blood clotting material to stop the continued bleeding from the remaining tip of the penis. However, no doctor ever came to examine the child and arrange for reattachment of the severed portion, an operation that could have been easily performed by a pediatric urologist. During the trial, another pediatrician testified that Dr. Kendall was negligent for failing to either come in to examine the child herself or ensure that the child was immediately examined by a doctor who could properly address the injury.    

"To say that this was an unfortunate situation is a gross understatement," says Attorney Llewellyn. "This little boy may require at least one additional operation to alleviate narrowing of his urinary opening, which is now in an unnatural location due to the injury. Unfortunately, restoration of normal penile anatomy and appearance is impossible. He and his family will need years of psychiatric counseling to help him deal with this entirely preventable tragedy. This is another case when saying 'I'm sorry' to this family just isn't enough. These accidents are all too common. I hope this verdict sends an appropriate message to the medical profession," Llewellyn added.


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