A jury in Gwinnett County, Georgia, has awarded $5 million in damages to the family of a new mother who drowned in a bathtub at Gwinnett Medical Center. It’s reported that Wendy Wyckstandt, 34, was too weak to shower without assistance. Ms. Wyckstandt, a native of England who was being treated for post-partum high blood pressure, collapsed in a bathtub while taking a shower five days after Thanksgiving in 2000. Her mother later found her in the bathtub and she died a day later. In 2002, the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital’s parent company, Gwinnett Health System. It was alleged that the hospital altered medical records and kept evidence from the family’s lawyers.
Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Michael Clark said he would sanction Gwinnett Health System for not following the rules of discovery, which required the defendant to turn over hospital policies on showering. Three cameras were mounted in the hallway outside Ms. Wyckstandt’s room that show when nurses or doctors entered her room. The family’s lawyers asked for video footage for the 24-hour period before her death, but the hospital’s lawyers turned over tapes from only two cameras. It appears there was a 30-minute gap when no activity is shown on the tapes, which happens to be during the same time frame the hospital claims a nurse checked on the patient. The hospital says the cameras briefly weren’t recording because the tapes must be switched out during shift changes. Jeff Harris, a lawyer from Atlanta, represented the family and did a very good job for them.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution
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