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Tragic Failure to Properly Diagnose and Treat Results in Jury Verdict for $2.75 Million

Gentry Locke for the Plaintiff

Western District of Virginia, Abingdon Division

On June 7, 2013, Shawn McKee presented to a hospital emergency department in Lebanon, Virginia. He was treated by Dwight L. Bailey who was, at the time, a licensed physician. Despite numerous signs and symptoms consistent with a potentially fatal condition known as a pulmonary embolus (“PE”), Mr. McKee did not undergo the required test to diagnose a PE, a CT scan. Dr. Bailey testified that the CT scanner at the hospital could not accommodate Mr. McKee’s size, which is why one was not done as he had ordered. Investigation revealed that a hospital about 30 minutes away had a CT scanner which could have accommodated Mr. McKee, but Dr. Bailey did not refer Mr. McKee to that hospital. Dr. Bailey also failed to order anti-coagulant treatment for Mr. McKee. Instead, Dr. Bailey allowed Mr. McKee to leave the hospital without treating him for a PE.

A few days later, Mr. McKee moved across the country to Idaho with his family. Mr. McKee had advised Dr. Bailey of his planned trip to Idaho while at the hospital. Long duration travel is a known risk factor for PE. Shortly after Mr. McKee and his family arrived in Idaho, he became very ill. During transport to a hospital, Mr. McKee became unresponsive and died. An autopsy determined that Mr. McKee died from a PE.  Mr. McKee was 31 years old when he died, leaving behind a wife and two minor children.

The case went to trial in federal court in Abingdon on December 2, 2015. On behalf of the Plaintiff, we presented evidence of almost $1 million in economic damages. After four days of trial, the jury began deliberations. Within an hour, the jury returned with a verdict of $2.75 million dollars plus pre-judgment interest from the date of Mr. McKee’s death. The Defendants filed post-trial motions asking for a new trial, which the Court denied by Order entered May 24, 2016. The judgment amount of $2.75 million was reduced by the Court to the applicable medical malpractice cap of $2.05 million.

Status of the case:

Judgment entered in favor of our client, the Plaintiff. Defendants plan to appeal.

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