Alabama Doctor Hit With $650,000 Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Alabama Doctor Hit With $650,000 Medical Malpractice LawsuitA jury in Houston County, Alabama, has issued a $650,000 judgment against a Dothan physician, bringing an end to a medical malpractice lawsuit that has been ongoing for nearly 10 years, the Dothan Eagle reports.

According to the news source, the complaint, filed by Stacy Fulford, names Dr. Gregory Johns, Wolfram H. Enseleit and Houston County Health Care Authority Incorporated as defendants in the case. The lawsuit was initially filed in 2003.

When the jury handed in the final judgment on Friday, March 23, Houston County Circuit Judge Brad Mendheim issued the penalty solely against Enseleit. Court records show the lawsuit was filed in response to a medical incident that occurred in December 2001, when Fulford's unborn child allegedly died due to the actions of the doctor, the media outlet stated.

According to the suit, Fulford was admitted into the Southeast Alabama Medical Center emergency room on December 10 with a headache, nausea and several other "central nervous system symptoms." At the time of her hospital stay, she was 28 weeks pregnant, and had a known history of hypertension. The lawsuit states Fulford sat in the emergency room for four hours, and after being seen, was dismissed from the healthcare center by Johns, who had diagnosed her with a middle ear infection.

Later that day, the Eagle reports, Fulford returned to the emergency room at SAMC, where she complained of the same symptoms and also showed a urine specimen with proteinuria.

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC), proteinuria is a condition in which urine is found to have an abnormal amount of protein. This saturation of protein indicates the kidneys, which typically filter out protein for body absorption, are not functioning properly.

Fulford was then examined by Enseleit, who diagnosed her with a urinary tract infection, prescribed her pain medication and an antibiotic and sent her home. Throughout the process, no obstetrician was consulted, the lawsuit states.

The next morning, Fulford was taken to the hospital in an ambulance after a seizure. At the hospital, Enseleit ordered a cesarean section, which found the baby to be dead. The lawsuit alleges that Enseleit and defendants  "negligently, wantonly and wrongfully … breached their duty to the (p)laintiff and … breached their duty to perform the standard of care with the same reasonable care … as other similarly situated emergency room physicians ordinarily have and would exercise in similar cases."

The cases against Johns and the medical center have since been dropped.