The Brannon Firm Wins Landmark Verdict of $6,067,830

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After only four hours of deliberation, a Montgomery County Ohio jury awarded a landmark verdict of $6,067,830 to the widower of a 34 year old pregnant woman.

After only four hours of deliberation, a Montgomery County Ohio jury awarded a landmark verdict of $6,067,830 to the widower of a 34 year old pregnant woman who died after physicians and hospital staff failed to diagnose pre-eclampsia and eclampsia during the course of her pregnancy while in the care of Good Samaritan Hospital and Dr. Cheryl Gill. The verdict included $2,250,000 for the wrongful death, $2,149,378 for loss of future earnings and $1,668,452 in other damages. It was one of the largest verdicts ever awarded against a physician in Dayton, Ohio. (Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Verdict)

“I want this to be a lasting reminder to all physicians who fail to take the time to listen, examine and properly treat their patients. If the physicians had done their job and put patient safety above profits my wife would still be with us,” said Terrance Fountaine.

Karla Fountaine became pregnant in mid-2008 and went to family practitioner Dr. Cheryl Gill for management of her pregnancy. The pregnancy continued to be uneventful until February 29, 2009. On that date Karla Fountaine complained to Dr. Gill that she developed a cough, headaches, she had gained an unusual amount of weight and her blood pressure had increased from her baseline, which are signs and symptoms associated with pre-eclampsia. Two days later, Karla Fountaine called Dr. Gill and complained of vaginal bleeding. Karla was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital from February 28, 2009 until March 3, 2009. During her admission, hospital tests revealed other classic signs of pre-eclampsia including, elevated blood pressures, and intrauterine growth restrictions, dropping platelets, increased Alkaline Phosphate and grossly increased D-Dimer amongst others. Despite all these tests and symptoms, no obstetrical consultation was requested by Dr. Gill and Karla Fountaine was discharged from the hospital. (Compl. ¶ 24, 25)

Later that afternoon, Karla Fountaine returned to the hospital with extremely high blood pressures, headaches and vomiting upon which she was readmitted. Dr. Gill did not go to the hospital to see her patient. During the early morning hours of March 4, 2009 the nurse found Karla Fountaine partly unconscious and called a code on the patient. An emergency C-Section was performed to save Karla Fountaine’s baby. Unfortunately, Karla Fountaine’s condition continued to deteriorate and she passed. A CT scan was performed which showed a hypertensive bleed and the autopsy performed identified the cause of death as Intracerebral hemorrhage. The medical examiner and other physicians found that the hemorrhage was clearly brought upon by the failure to treat Karla Fountaine’s pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. (Compl. ¶ 34, 35, 36, 38, 42, 43)

Terrance Fountaine, represented by Dwight Brannon of the Brannon Law Firm and Michael Wright of Wright & Schulte, brought claims against Good Samaritan Hospital, Premier Health Partners, and Dr. Cheryl Gill for medical malpractice and wrongful death. At trial it came to light that Dr. Cheryl Gill ignored and failed to treat Karla Fountaine’s classic presentation of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia resulting in her untimely death. (Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Verdict)

“Karla Fountaine’s death was completely preventable if her physician and other medical providers would have taken the time, looked at her symptoms and treated the patient for her pre-eclampsia,” said attorney, Dwight Brannon. “It is the Fountaine family’s wish that this verdict will force physicians and hospitals to focus more on properly treating patients and meeting the standards of care that are expected in our community.”

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Katherine Rice
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