In a judgment filed Wednesday, the family of woman who sought treatment at Cumberland Gastroenterology PSC but later died apparently from complications due to a perforated bowel has been awarded more than $1.6 million.
According to the initial wrongful death complaint filed in June 2017, Lula Mae White was referred by her primary care physician in October 2016 to Cumberland Gastroenterology for a colonoscopy and scope procedure -- after which she began experiencing abdominal pain.
The Russell Springs woman called to report her pain issues on December 1 and 13. Her daughter, Tonya Meece, took her the following day (December 14) back to Cumberland Gastroenterology where White was seen by Jason Dixon, ARNP.
According to the complaint, Dixon gave White a stool softener and told her to return in five days (December 19) for an abdominal CT scan if she did not improve. On December 16, 2016, White was taken to the Russell County Hospital emergency room where she was diagnosed with a perforated small bowel. Surgery was performed the following day in an attempt to repair the perforation, and White was transferred to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital on December 19.
White was removed from life support on January 12, 2017, and died from multi-system organ failure, according to the complaint. She was 72.
Meece -- representing her mother's estate -- was joined by her father and White's widower, John White, in bringing the lawsuit against Cumberland Gastroenterology. They were represented by the Louisville-based Poppe Law Firm.
Cumberland Gastroenterology was represented by the Robinson & Havens firm of Lexington. In a response filed in July 2017, the medical practice denied all claims of negligence and asserted that any damages or injuries were caused either by the decedent's own comparative negligence, the actions/inactions of some third party, a superseding/intervening event, or pre-existing condition. They asked for a dismissal of the complaint.
Mr. White passed away on April 18 of this year, Meece continuing the suit as administratrix of both her parents' estates. The trial began on November 26 with the jury returning its verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on November 29. According to the judgment signed by Pulaski Circuit Judge David Tapp, the jury recommended that the defendant pay a total of $1,655,291.03 as follows:
$555,291.03 for medical expenses$500,000 for pain and suffering$100,000 for loss of consortium, and$500,000 in punitive damages.The judgment includes interest at a rate of six percent annually from the date of entry (December 5) until the date paid.