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A Tragic Loss: Seeking Justice in a Landmark $40 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict in Georgia

In a heartbreaking medical malpractice case, the Sanford family has been awarded a $40 million verdict after the loss of their beloved daughter, Nykevia Sanford. The case shed light on a series of medical errors and inadequate training that ultimately led to Nykevia’s untimely death. The jury’s decision serves as a stark reminder of the importance of proper medical care and the devastating consequences when it falls short.

Nykevia’s Remarkable Spirit

Nykevia Sanford, a young woman of only 25 years, had been living with sickle cell disease and was born deaf. Despite her medical conditions, Nykevia never allowed them to hold her back. She became an inspiration to those around her, including her brothers, who pursued careers as engineers. Nykevia aspired to become a nurse so that she could help others with hearing impairments, embracing her deafness and cherishing her life as it was.

A Series of Tragic Events

In November 2017, Nykevia presented to Phoebe Sumter Hospital Emergency Room with pain caused by sickle cell disease. After receiving treatment and being discharged, she returned to the hospital in even worse pain the same day. Shockingly, on her third visit, no physician saw her, and she was discharged once again, despite her deteriorating condition. The words of a nurse practitioner stating, “the third time is a charm,” proved devastatingly wrong. Nykevia’s condition worsened, and she developed acute chest syndrome, a well-known complication of sickle cell disease.

A Preventable Tragedy

At this critical juncture, Nykevia desperately needed a blood transfusion to carry oxygen to her organs. Tragically, she never received one. Despite being accepted for transfer to The Medical Center in Macon, where she could have received the necessary care, chaos and a lack of knowledge on how to perform an exchange transfusion prevented timely intervention. Nykevia was transferred to Grady, her fifth hospital presentation, but en route, she suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away the following day. It was later revealed that The Medical Center had a contract with the Red Cross, which could have sent a team to perform an exchange transfusion. However, due to a lack of training and coordination, this life-saving opportunity was missed.

Seeking Justice

LOURIE, CHANCE, FORLINES, CARTER & KING, PC were hired by the Sanford family to file a lawsuit against Phoebe Physicians Group, Inc., the hospitalist who accepted Nykevia as a patient, and The Medical Center. Our attorneys argued for ordinary negligence and administrative negligence, highlighting the failure to educate and train medical staff on the necessary procedures for an exchange transfusion. The jury, after careful consideration, returned a verdict of $35 million for wrongful death and $5 million for pain and suffering. The physician and nurse practitioner employed by Phoebe Physicians Group were held 50% responsible for the second discharge, while The Medical Center was assigned 50% responsibility for ordinary negligence.

Our Dedicated Trial Team

LOURIE, CHANCE, FORLINES, CARTER & KING, PC trial team, led by Xavier Carter and Lindsay Forlines, played an instrumental role in presenting the case and advocating for the Sanford family. Their legal expertise, compassionate approach, and strong bond with the Sanfords instilled unwavering faith and support. Andrew King, Jessica Lourie, and the paralegal Dre Linnear provided invaluable assistance, ensuring a clean and well-protected legal record.

The tragic loss of Nykevia Sanford has highlighted the devastating consequences of medical negligence and inadequate training. The $40 million verdict serves as a powerful message about the importance of quality medical care and the responsibility of healthcare providers to ensure proper training and procedures are in place. Together, we can strive for a healthcare system that upholds the highest standards of care for every patient in Georgia.

Nykevia Sanford’s tragic loss underscores the dire need for an unwavering commitment to medical excellence. A $40 million verdict isn’t just compensation—it’s a call for change. Demand the best for Georgia. If you or a loved one have suffered, seek justice with us now → or call 678-726-5541.