Quest Diagnostics Responsible for Catastrophic Injury to Patient During Routine Blood Draw- Jury Awards total of $5.4 MillionApril 20, 2012 – A Fulton County jury returned a verdict Friday against Quest Diagnostics and its Alpharetta-based subsidiary, Quick-Med, Inc., for $5,459,255, after a medical technician caused permanent nerve damage to Mr. Michael Bowbliss of Buford, Georgia during a routine blood draw as part of a life insurance examination. After seven hours of deliberation, the jury reached a verdict totaling $3,459,255 for Mr. Bowbliss’ claims, and $2,000,000 for Dee Anna Blowliss and her children’s loss of consortium claim, one of the largest loss of consortium awards in Georgia history. “As a result of the blood draw, Mike suffered permanent damage to the median nerve of his right arm, a major nerve about as wide as a Number 2 pencil that runs down the middle of the forearm into the hand,” said Lloyd N. Bell, the attorney for Bowbliss. “The nerve injury led to the onset of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Type II, a debilitating chronic pain condition which has no known cure,” said Bell. “The injury’s effect on Mike’s wife and children is also profound, and the verdict and award speak to that loss,” added Nelson Tyrone, attorney for Mrs. Bowbliss. “In May of 2009, Quest Diagnostics sent a medical technician to the home of 34-year-old Michael Bowbliss to conduct a routine life insurance exam,” said Bell. “The technician, Patricia Robinson, inserted a needle into Bowbliss’s right arm to obtain a blood sample. When she inserted the needle, Bowbliss screamed in pain and felt immediate burning and tingling down his arm and into his hand. Ms. Robinson continued to probe, repositioned the needle, and eventually drew blood, despite Mr. Bowbliss’ obvious pain.” “After she removed the needle, the pain remained and did not go away,” continued Bell. “A few days later, Bowbliss contacted Quest and reported that his arm felt like it was on fire since the needle stick. He asked what he should do. Quest advised Bowbliss to get immediate medical attention, which he did.” “Since the injury, Mike’s life has been spent in doctor’s offices and examination rooms trying to treat his pain and disability. He was finally referred to The Shepherd Center, one of the finest catastrophic care hospitals in Atlanta, and has been getting excellent treatment from Dr. Erik Shaw, a specialist in treating complex regional pain syndrome,” Bell said. “Dr. Shaw is using some the most advanced, cutting-edge treatment options available to help control the pain including Ketamine infusions and various nerve blocks. Mike is grateful to Dr. Shaw and the entire team at Shepherd Center, and he is hopeful about the future, but Mike knows this will be a condition he will have to work to manage for the rest of his life,” said Bell. “Despite overwhelming evidence of fault and catastrophic injury to Mike and his family, Quest and Quick-Med never acknowledged any responsibility,” said Bell. “From the beginning, Quest and Quick-Med made it clear they did not care about Mike and his family. In fact, the only offer to settle the defendants ever made before the verdict was entered occurred during trial – an offer of $5,000,” said Bell. “A young, healthy man who has given blood dozens of times in his life without incident, should not get his median nerve sliced during a routine life insurance exam,” said Bell. “Mike filed suit to find out why this happened and hopefully prevent this from happening to someone else,” continued Bell. “In discovery we found that Quest and Quick-Med had hired a medical technician to perform blood draws without ever observing her technique and without confirming that she understood the standard of care,” said Bell. “At her deposition, Ms. Robinson testified it was her practice to insert the needle into the arm at a 45 degree angle, which everyone in the case agreed violated the standard of care,” said Bell. “She also admitted she kept the needle in Mike’s arm after he expressed pain, another clear violation of the standard of care,” said Bell. “A properly trained medical technician knows that the only acceptable angle of entry is 30 degrees or less, and that if a patient ever expresses pain, the needle should be removed immediately, and certainly not repositioned.” Mr. Bowbliss’s wife, Dee Anna, also brought an independent claim against Quest Diagnostics and Quick-Med for the loss of marital services, what is known under Georgia law as a “loss of consortium” claim. “Georgia law recognizes and values marriage,” said Dee Anna Bowbliss’s attorney, Nelson O. Tyrone. “When one partner in a marriage suffers terrible injury, the impact on the marriage is profound,” said Tyrone. “By representing Ms. Bowbliss on this issue, I was able to help the jury understand the life-altering impact Mike’s injury has had on the marriage and their three young children. In a very real sense, Quest and Quick-Med have pulled this family apart and changed their lives forever. The verdict speaks to that loss.” The verdict for Mike and Dee Anna Bowbliss of $5,459,255, included damages for Mike Bowbliss’s claims totaling $3,459,255 and $2,000,000 for Dee Anna Bowbliss’s loss of consortium claim, one of the largest such awards for loss of consortium in Georgia history. After the verdict was entered, Judge Patsy Porter reduced Mr. Bowbliss’s verdict by approximately $1,600,000, which represented the cost of two medical procedures, a spinal cord stimulator and intrathecal pump, both treatment options to help control the pain. “The court determined the cost of the future treatments was too speculative,” said Bell. “While I respect the Court’s decision, I strongly disagree with it, and am confident Mike will ultimately receive all the money the jury found he was entitled to,” said Bell. **Update: On February 5, 2013, the trial court granted defendants a new trial, and on March 10, 2014, the jury returned a verdict in favor of defense. The verdict was affirmed on appeal.