The Supreme Court of Virginia has upheld a verdict against an Alexandria surgeon and the corporation she worked for arising from second and third degree burns which a patient suffered when a flash fire developed in the operating room. Rita Talbert had sued Debra Hutchins, M.D. and Alexandria Surgery, LTD after she was severely injured in a 2005 fire at Alexandria Hospital. The surgery was to have been a simple outpatient thyroid surgery.
After settling with other defendants for $710,000, her case against Dr. Hutchins went to trial. According to other published reports, Dr. Hutchins had refused to settle the case. An Alexandria jury returned a verdict in the amount of $4 million. The verdict was reduced pursuant to Virginia's "tort reform" on damages (at the time $1.75 million) and was further reduced by the amount of the earlier settlement.
According to newspaper reports at the time Ms. Talbert underwent at least eight reconstructive surgeries and incurred medical expenses of over $500,000.
It is estimated in a 2001 study that as many as 200 surgical fires occur each year in the United States, but more recent studies suggest that number could be much higher.
Dr. Hutchins appealed the verdict on numerous grounds, but the Supreme Court of Virginia recently dismissed her appeal saying that it had been filed too late.
Here is another article on this horrendous case of a fire in the operating room at Inova Alexandria Hospital.
Alexandria, Virginia residents who are victims of medical malpractice can get more information on medical malpractice in Virginia by download Ben Glass's book, Why Most Medical Malpractice Victims Never Recover a Dime, for FREE from our website. You can also call (703) 584-7277 with questions about their case.