A team of doctors at North Fulton Medical Center worked on Josh Coleman’s back surgery in 2003. Dr. Frank Puhalovich had a minor role: “he was only in the operating room for about 10 minutes making sure a technician properly hooked up a monitor that tracks nerve impulses along the spinal [cord] through electrodes attached to Coleman’s head and feet.” But after Puhalovich left, during surgery, the alarm went off: attorneys blame the surgeons’ failure to respond to the alarm in a timely fashion for Coleman’s paralysis. Coleman sued everyone involved, and all the doctors settled, except Puhalovich. So Coleman proceeded to trial against Puhalovich, blamed him also, and a jury awarded $11.7 million. The press coverage gives no indication what the theory of liability is against Puhalovich.
Joshua Coleman, sitting in a wheelchair next to his attorneys, Bill Stone and David Boone, smiled as the verdict was announced after the two-week civil trial.
“Josh is high as a kite right now,” Stone said. “He’s going to have a great weekend.”
(Beth Warren, “Paralyzed man awarded $11.7 million”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mar. 24).
Update: Kevin, MD post with clever title Shotgun yields a jackpot.