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South Carolina Medical Malpractice Suit Results in $3M Award

A Myrtle Beach-area jury has handed down a $3 million verdict against a South Carolina hospital and doctor in a medical malpractice suit

Sean Fay filed the lawsuit against Grand Strand Regional Medical Center and Dr. Stephen Law, an emergency room physician, over the death of his wife, Kelly Fay, in 2002. Fay was admitted to Grand Strand on a Saturday in January of 2002, with complaints of stomach and back pain.

Rather than being admitted, Fay was diagnosed as having a kidney stone, given pain medication and scheduled to return on Monday. However, Fay died of septic shock 48 hours after she was discharged, before she could keep her appointment.

Last month, a Horry County jury determined that both the hospital and Dr. Law were negligent in the care of Fay, and failed to follow nationally recognized standards of medical care. However, Sean Fay was also found partly negligent for not bringing his wife back to the emergency room when her condition worsened, the Sun News reported.

Sepsis infections are a form of body-wide inflammation that results from the reaction to an infection. Symptoms can include high heart rate, a high respiratory rate, a high or low body temperature and elevated white blood cell count. Sepsis can cause the body to go into septic shock, resulting in organ damage and organ failure, and severe cases result in death about 20% to 35% of the time.

Hospital officials said they disagreed with the jury’s decision and believe the hospital and Dr. Law provided Fay with appropriate care. They are considering an appeal of the decision.

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