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Jury finds doctor negligent, awards woman $131,500 for death

October 31, 2000

Jury finds doctor negligent, awards woman $131,500 for death



A Washington County Circuit jury recently returned a $131,500 verdict in favor of the daughter of an 88-year-old Washington County woman who died Dec. 17, 1996, two weeks after surgery.

According to court records, the jury awarded the money to Betty Sagle, who filed the lawsuit against Dr. Albert Lai, a trauma surgeon at Washington County Hospital.

The jury found Lai was negligent in violating the standard of care he provided for Thelma Giffin, court records said.

The jury found that Lai's negligence caused injury to Thelma Giffin, court records said.

The award consisted of $58,000 for past medical expenses, $3,500 for funeral expenses and $70,000 for pain and suffering, court records said.

The lawsuit alleged that Giffin was acutely ill when she went to the hospital Nov. 26, 1996, but was not operated on until Dec. 3 when Lai removed a gangrenous gall bladder.

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Giffin failed to recover from that surgery and died two weeks later, the lawsuit said.

Judge Donald Beachley presided over the civil trial that ended Oct. 5.

- Marlo Barnhart

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