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$4M medical malpractice verdict is record in Lynchburg

A Lynchburg jury has returned a $4 million verdict that – with pre-judgment interest – would total $5.68 million for a man who claimed a doctor’s missed diagnosis caused severe injuries to his leg and foot, his lawyer reported.

Under Virginia’s cap on medical malpractice awards, the patient stands to recover $1.85 million.

The verdict appears to be a record for Lynchburg. A federal jury returned a $1 million verdict with $243,745 in pre-judgment interest in a 1997 medical malpractice trial. The lawyer for the plaintiff in that action, Martinsville’s Robert W. Mann, said he had not heard of a larger Lynchburg verdict since.

The patient in last week’s trial was represented by James B. Feinman of Lynchburg. Judge J. Michael Gamble presided at the trial.

Edward Burnett, 45, of Lynchburg was having sudden severe pain in his right leg when he saw family medicine physician Jarrett S. Dodd of Forest in 2007, according to Burnett’s account. Dodd failed to expedite a referral to a vascular surgeon, Feinman said.

Burnett had acute limb ischemia – a blockage of blood flow – Feinman said. By the time the condition was diagnosed, the blood clot causing the blockage had hardened, he said. A large portion of Burnett’s foot was amputated and the muscle and tissue below his knee was permanently damaged, he said.

Burnett incurred $342,000 in medical bills and $45,000 in lost wages from his job at the Georgia Pacific LLC plant in Big Island, Feinman said.

The trial lasted four days and the jury was out four and a half hours, Feinman said.

Dodd and his practice group were defended by C.J. Steuart Thomas of Staunton. Thomas requested time to file post-trial motions, Feinman said.

Thomas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Feinman said there were no offers before trial.

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