Jurors Return $4.5M Verdict Against Savannah Doctor

Jurors Return $4.5M in Medical Malpractice Case Against a Savannah Doctor

Press Release
Karsman, McKenzie & Hart
Savage, Turner, Pinckney, Savage & Sprouse

SAVANNAH (May 5, 2023) – A Chatham County jury has issued a $4.5 million verdict in the medical malpractice case of a Savannah doctor who implanted a spinal cord stimulator in the wrong place and failed to tell his patient after he discovered the error.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours this morning after a five-day trial and days of testimony in the case of Amy E. Douglas v. Dr. Thomas Lawhorne III and Optim Orthopedics LLC.

They found the defendants violated the standard of care when Dr. Lawhorne performed the unnecessary surgery on Sept. 1, 2017. Evidence presented in the case showed there was no need for Dr. Lawhorne to perform the surgery. As a result, patient Amy E. Douglas, of Savannah, suffered tremendous pain and had to undergo additional surgeries to remove the device and correct the damage done to a spinal nerve root.

“This case was only brought after the doctor dismissed Amy from his care during her first post-surgery visit to his office,” said the plaintiff’s co-counsel attorney Jeremy McKenzie, a partner at Karsman, McKenzie & Hart. “The doctor did not note in his records anything about the misplacement of the device and didn’t tell any of his partners. Amy and her family feel vindicated by the jury’s verdict.”

During the trial, neurosurgeon Dr. John Sarzier, who is a former partner with Optim Orthopedics, testified on Amy Douglas’ behalf. He told jurors that he corrected the complications caused by Dr. Lawhorne’s surgery. Dr. Sarzier was later dismissed from the practice.

Also during the trial, Dr. Lawhorne admitted to putting the stimulator in the wrong place. He finally took responsibility in front of the jury after jurors heard days of overwhelming evidence and testimony.

“We couldn’t have done it without the Chatham County Court system and especially the jury who we offer many thanks to,” McKenzie said.

Co-counsels for the plaintiff included attorneys Robert “Bart” Turner and Carolyn Spellman of Savage, Turner, Pinckney, Savage & Sprouse, and Jeremy McKenzie and Dorian Britt, of Karsman, McKenzie & Hart.

For questions about the case or to schedule an interview with Amy Douglas, please contact attorney Jeremy McKenzie: 912-335-4977.



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