Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton - February 2020

February 2020

The Story of the King Family


edicare defines a “never event” as an identifiable, easily preventable medical error that should never happen and simply cannot occur with the exercise of reasonable care. “Never events” result in severe consequences, complications,

As the case progressed, Vinetra said Leon made sure to give her realistic expectations of howmediation would work and what a possible settlement might be. He referenced previous cases that he had worked on and fully explained to her what the range of outcomes had been. She says,“He was adamant that we receive an offer that was appropriate for the conduct of the nurses and the lack of training that led to my father’s easily preventable death.” When a settlement was reached in August 2019, Leon’s commitment to the case, Vinetra, and the rest of Victohr’s family didn’t end. Mindful of the family’s desire to honor any financial obligations existing at the time of Victohr’s death, Leon offered to help tie up any loose ends. This entailed leaving nothing outstanding or unresolved so that Vinetra and her family could finally have peace of mind and move forward with their lives. Also, Leon knew that for Vinetra to do that, she needed her father’s death to make a difference somehow.

and/or the death of patients, and they are entirely avoidable. Air embolisms fall into this category, particularly when they occur as a result of hospital staff failing to follow critical, essential steps designed to ensure patient safety. One such event occurred at Princeton Baptist Hospital, where a major failure in care tragically took the life of Victohr Rivers in July 2016. Mr. Rivers was being discharged when nurses removed a central line from his neck while he was sitting, rather than in a supine position. He immediately suffered from a predictable air embolism. After Victohr’s death, his daughter, Vinetra Murphy, and her family sought legal counsel from a local attorney. Due to the highly complex nature of this medical negligence case, they were referred to Hare Wynn’s Leon Ashford, managing partner at the firm, and former Alabama Supreme Court Justice, Ralph Cook. On Oct. 21, 2016, on behalf of Vinetra and her family, Leon filed a lawsuit against Princeton Baptist, alleging medical negligence in the wrongful death of Victohr Rivers. Vinetra says of the firm, “Everyone was extremely professional yet highly personable. When the case began, I was in Baltimore doing my internship for my doctorate in psychology. However, Leon and his team all kept in close contact with me and kept me updated. If I had questions, they made time to explain things to me fully.”

For that reason, the firm believes that the litigation resulted in changes at the hospital, which will assure that the same “never event”will not occur again at Princeton Baptist. Vinetra explains, “The hospital policies and procedures have now changed because of my dad’s case. They have already started training their nurses in a new way to make sure what happened to him never happens to anyone else again. Not only are we grateful for the settlement, but we’re also grateful that from now on, other lives can be saved in the future. That was the most important part of it all to us.” When the cold, harsh hand of tragedy strikes, life can suddenly become a dark and frightful place, so any hands offered in compassion, strength, and encouragement are gratefully welcomed. Vinetra found this at Hare Wynn. Furthermore, looking back on her experience with Leon, Vinetra was always struck by how personable and genuine he was. She sums up her experience: “He asked about my life and my family. He wanted to know how things were going in our lives. I feel this was a massive strength of his. Many people in professional settings tend to relate to the people they are working for purely as a business transaction: ‘I’m here to do this for you, and that’s it.’ But Leon wasn’t like that. You can tell the difference between people who are trying to be personable but just aren’t genuine and those who genuinely are. Leon took the time to get to know me and my family and what was important to us. I felt heard and listened to, and I always knew that he was wholly dedicated and committed to us and to helping make our lives better.”

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