COMMENTARY

New Tactic to Keep Tort Reform; Deadly Hospital Linens; More

Wayne J. Guglielmo, MA

Disclosures

May 15, 2014

In This Article

Hair Still Perfect, John Edwards Returns to Court to Sue a Doctor

Before his political career -- first as a US senator from North Carolina, and then as a Democratic presidential hopeful in 2004 and 2008 -- John Edwards was one of the state's and nation's top plaintiff's lawyers, someone whose multimillion dollar awards on behalf of injured patients, among others, were the stuff of legend.

Now, two years after a federal jury weighed six felony charges against him in connection with multiple violations of campaign contribution laws, he's back to where he began, says the Raleigh News & Observer in an April 11 report.[4] Edwards is part of a team representing the parents and guardians of a four-year-old Virginia boy who suffers from brain damage and physical injuries.

In their statement, the plaintiffs claim that in December 2009, the then-infant was experiencing severe respiratory distress when he was moved from Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, North Carolina, to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, North Carolina. The plaintiffs further contend that while in Pitt Memorial, under the care of Craig A. Sisson, MD, an emergency medicine specialist, the infant was treated negligently, leading to his brain damage and other injuries. (The article in the News & Observer didn't describe the specific nature of the malpractice.)

In Edwards' first trial since he was acquitted on one charge and saw the jury deadlock on the five others, his presence in the courtroom was bound to cause a stir, and it did. According to the News & Observer, one curious onlooker who strained to get a look at the famous Edwards coif (during his 2008 presidential bid, the candidate was criticized for a $250 haircut) had to be asked to move.

But the lead plaintiff's attorney -- Robert Zaytoun, of Raleigh -- was quick to refocus attention away from Edwards' celebrity. "Obviously, many people know John from various ways," said Zaytoun. "[But] this case is not about any lawyer. This case is about a child."

Missing Biopsy Prompts Lawsuit

A Louisiana man claims that his skin cancer diagnosis was delayed because of his doctor's negligence, reports the Louisiana Record, a legal journal.[5]

On April 26, 2011, the plaintiff says he visited internal medicine specialist Kiran Zaveri, MD, to have a mole removed from his back. But instead of sending the specimen for a biopsy, the patient claims that Dr. Zaveri failed to do so, nor did he set up a follow-up visit with a specialist. A year and a half later, the plaintiff went to Dr. Zaveri to have another mole removed, from the same area of his back as the first mole. Sent for examination, this second mole was found to be positive for stage IV melanoma.

Dr. Zaveri had allegedly thrown away the first biopsy sample by accident.

Claiming that his cancer might not have progressed had the first specimen been examined properly, the Gretna, Louisiana, man is suing Dr. Zaveri for various counts of negligence, including the failure "to properly evaluate the [initial] specimen." The story didn't specify the amount of damages being sought.

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