Family receives $7.8M settlement in flesh-eating bacteria case

Friday, August 31, 2012

After a 15-day trial a Dyer County Circuit Court jury recently returned a verdict for a judgment of $7.8 million against Dyersburg Regional Medical Center and several other individuals for negligence and failing to provide proper care to a 12-year-old child who reportedly suffered severe brain damage as a result of an improperly treated cut.

Dyersburg Regional Medical Center; David Criswell, owner of Upon This Rock Amusement in Dyersburg; Joseph Flagge, M.D.; and Alan Hopkins, ARNP; were named as defendants in the original complaint filed in 2004 by David Reynolds and Debbie Flowers, the parents of Jonathan Reynolds.

The complaint states the injury occurred when then 12-year-old Jonathan Reynolds visited the now defunct Upon This Rock Amusement on Jan. 17, 2004 to play laser tag. Jonathan Reynolds injured himself when he fell on an exposed nail head. He was taken to DRMC, where Flagge and Hopkins treated him. David Reynolds and Debbie Flowers filed a complaint in Dyer County Circuit Court on Dec. 28, 2004 alleging that Flagge, Hopkins and other medical personnel failed to take proper precautions to avoid infection, including the failure to administer necessary and appropriate antibiotics and other medicines. Jonathan Reynolds was discharged the same day of his injury, but was then admitted into DRMC two days later with excruciating pain and redness and swelling that was steadily moving up his leg.

The complaint further alleged that the doctor that admitted Jonathan on Jan. 19, two days after his injury, Randy Isaacs, M.D., failed to diagnose the flesh-eating bacteria (necrotizing fascitis). It was not until Jonathan Reynolds was seen on Jan. 22, 2004 by another doctor that his condition was determined to be "significant" and was immediately transferred to Lebonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis.

The complaint alleged not only did Jonathan Reynolds suffer severe physical injuries from the hospital's negligence with most of the flesh from his knee to his groin decomposing, requiring extensive tissue removal and skin grafts, but he also suffered severe brain injuries. Jonathan's condition caused him to slip into a coma for two weeks where he suffered from seizures that caused permanent brain injuries. At the civil trial held in March 2007, Dr. Robert Kennon of Jackson, Tenn., a child psychologist, testified Jonathan Reynolds no longer qualified for approximately 84 percent of jobs available. He also testified that Jonathan's injury had severely affected his memory.

The case went to trial in 2007, but ended in a mistrial and was reheard last month by Circuit Court Judge Donald E. Parish from Huntington, Tenn. Dyer County Circuit Court Judge Lee Moore had previously recused himself from the case after reportedly being related to some of the individuals named in the complaint and was friends with others.

The trial started on Monday, July 16, and the verdict wasn't handed down until Friday, Aug. 3. A large portion of testimony centered around the treatment of Jonathan Reynolds' knee injury, which was alleged to have been improperly treated, thus causing him further injury. Flagge and Hopkins had reportedly already settled with the defendants for undisclosed amounts and the hospital followed suit halfway through the trial, agreeing to pay an undisclosed settlement. The jury ultimately determined that Jonathan Reynolds was eligible for $7,816,740 in damages. According to court documents obtained by the State Gazette, the breakdown of fault found by the jury was as follows:

* Criswell is responsible for 13 percent.

* Flagge and Hopkins are each responsible for 20 percent.

* DRMC is responsible for 47 percent.

The final settlement amounts have been sealed by the court.

Parish was the sixth judge to hear the case since it was originally filed in 2004.

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  • Based on my experiences I wouldn't take my cat to DRMC! It was once a good hospital (previous owners) but now I wouldn't stop there for any reason...

    -- Posted by Dude2010 on Fri, Aug 31, 2012, at 9:40 AM
  • 99 percent of the time when a person goes into the hospital and admitted they come out with something they did not have in the first place. Either staph infection, MRSA, or severe diarrhea from a weak immune system. If a person knew the mistakes that went on in the hospital you would never go there. Most Drs. now a days aren't worth a hoot. They just sail through school on the skin of their teeth............

    -- Posted by Gerty on Sat, Sep 1, 2012, at 1:47 AM
  • It is about time someone sued that place that people call a "hospital"..

    Good news!!! Congratts to this family!!!

    -- Posted by auditchick on Sat, Sep 1, 2012, at 5:43 AM
  • Well put auditchick, but it,s called H-O-R-S-E-P-I-T-A-L.

    -- Posted by newtwou2 on Sat, Sep 1, 2012, at 8:05 AM
  • when it takes 8 years to get justice in america, something is wrong! very wrong.

    -- Posted by closerlook on Wed, Sep 5, 2012, at 11:18 AM
  • Yea! Doctors suck! Hospitals suck! They need to close them all down! I recommend that people all over the world revolt! That sounds like a good idea. We can all do it for one week or so! All of us! Together! Let's just not go to the hospitals or see any doctors! Sorry, I would love to write more but I have to get some pick up my medicine from the Pharmacy or my diabetes will kill me. Hahahahahhaha

    -- Posted by tihsgod on Sat, Nov 3, 2012, at 7:12 PM
  • Dude2010 is right! How hard is it to become a doctor?

    Lest see. The US population is about 315 million.

    About 2.6 million people graduate high school every year.

    About 63% of high school graduates go to college or about 1.6 million students.

    About 30% of adults over 25 have a bachelor's degree or 60 million.

    There are 17,000 MD's and 3,000 DO's that graduate medical school in the US.

    God it is easy to become a doctor.

    Let me tell you how it is done. Graduate high school top of your class. Graduate with a bachelor's degree top of your class (4 years). Graduate medical school (4 more years). Then do a minimum of 3 years of residency. That is so easy.

    Dude2010 you and I need to hang out. You are so right on. You and I could easily become doctors. I have a plan lets go get our GED, then we take the SAT, do the 4 year bachelors thing, then take the MCAT (breeze), then do up medical school (dude this fun), then take USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2, USMLE Step 3 (dude we are stepping, yea dude stepping), then chill out on the 3 year residency plan (this is so much fun I want more, 3 more years for a Cardiology fellowship (dude heart is so cool). Then we make da big bucks. This is so easy dude. Dude the only think that I may not like is putting a sail on my teeth. You know I do not have many left and what happens if dude there wind or something like that.

    Dude, you and I to the end of times!

    By the way dude are feeling what I am feeling right now.

    I got kinda butterflies in my tummy about us.

    I do not want to freak you out dude but you are so cool and you know so much dude.

    -- Posted by tihsgod on Sat, Nov 3, 2012, at 7:42 PM
  • Lets close down Dyersburg Hospital! Who needs a hospital we can let auditchick, newtwou2, Gerty, and Dude2010 treat us. Sorry Gerty I did not like your name so I used Dude2010. Sorry Dude2010 your name was just way better than Gerty for may other comment.

    -- Posted by tihsgod on Sat, Nov 3, 2012, at 7:49 PM
  • DRMC really does suck, my daughter was taken there in ambulance with a allergic reaction to medicine and the DR on duty talked on his cell phone for two hours while the nurse and my wife tried to get him off to help her, finally after two hours of this, the nurses told us to take her to Jackson because she was not going to get any help there.

    -- Posted by Fish man on Thu, Jul 11, 2013, at 8:38 PM
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