A jury in DeKalb County has awarded more than $11.5 million in a medical malpractice case where an eight-year-old girl and her parents following a complaint that an obstetrician-gynecologist permitted the mother to continue taking a risky blood pressure medication during pregnancy. The drug, Benicar, is known to cause fetal and neonatal side effects.
Court filings said the little girl, Kendyl Gorman, suffered several injuries including brain damage, skull abnormalities, kidney failure, and intestinal problems. The plaintiffs’ attorney, Geoffrey Pope, said Kendyl had a stroke in utero and this led to cognitive and neurodevelopment issues. She will also need to get a replacement kidney in six to eight years.
The girl’s mother, Terry Franklin, was prescribed Benicar by her primary care physician in 2009. The medication comes with a warning that it has been associated with neonatal and fetal injuries when used during the second and third trimesters. It is advised that women of childbearing age be told about the possible consequences.
However, the plaintiffs claim Dr. Lonnie Jenkins didn’t tell Franklin about the risks even after she saw him in 2010 and reported that she’d miscarried. Franklin became pregnant again later in the year and began seeing OB/GYN Alvin Sermons. Sermons knew Franklin was taking the drug and his notes said she could discontinue use, but the mother claimed she was never told. She continued to take Benicar for 33 weeks.
In his defense, Sermons said he told Franklin to stop taking medication on her first visit. In the end, he refused to settle the claims against him for his $1 million insurance policy limit. Franklin’s primary care physician was a co-defendant, but he settled just before trial. Kendyl and her family will also seek attorney fees under Georgia’s offer of judgment statute.
If you believe you or a loved one was a victim of medical malpractice, contact the attorneys today.