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South Florida Jury Finds Doctor Negligent in 2011 Medical Malpractice Lawsuit; Awards Plaintiff $16,922,000

South Florida Jury Finds Doctor Negligent in 2011 Medical Malpractice Lawsuit; Awards Plaintiff $16,922,000

On November 21, 2008, the pain in Stephanie Hollingsworth’s feet and hands became so acute that she went to the emergency room at Holy Cross Hospital, located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Hollingsworth, then 26, believed that the pain was from an autoimmune disease that she suffered from. Dr. Yvonne Sherrer, a rheumatology specialist, was called in to exam Hollingsworth. And according to a medical malpractice lawsuit, filed on January 28, 2011, because of Sherrer’s alleged negligence, Hollingsworth lost part of her left foot, nine of her toes, two fingertips, and her right thumb.

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Medical records show that Sherrer gave Hollingsworth steroids, when Cytoxan, an immunosuppressant used to treat vasculitis, could have prevented amputation, according to her lawyers. Hollingsworth’s attorneys argued that Sherrer misdiagnosed their client and waited too long to transfer her to the University of Miami Hospital, where she was promptly diagnosed with vasculitis and given Cytonax that they claimed saved her life. When Hollingsworth arrived at the University of Miami Hospital, a week after checking in to Holy Cross, she was suffering from gangrene in her fingers and toes.

“She was at death’s door by the time they transferred her out of Holy Cross,” said a lawyer representing the plaintiff.

After nearly seven years of litigation the Florida jury took two days to deliberate before coming back with a verdict in favor of Hollingsworth. They dismissed the charges against Holy Cross Hospital and found Sherrer completely at fault. Hollingsworth was awarded $10 million for pain and suffering, $5 million for her future and past medical expenses, as well as $922,000 for lost wages. Broward Circuit Judge John Murphy presided over the case.

“This doctor’s failure to follow the standard of care for her profession caused this young woman to suffer nightmarish injuries,” said one of Hollingsworth’s attorneys. “She will never be able to lead a normal life.”

It is not yet clear whether Sherrer will appeal the ruling.

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