$555K verdict rendered in JC med-mal alleging doc discharged sedated patient

By David Yates | May 15, 2019

BEAUMONT – A jury recently awarded a local woman more than half-a-million dollars in damages, finding a physician was negligent in his care of her.

Dorothy Hampton filed suit against Dr. Leonard Thome on May 31, 2016, in Jefferson County District Court.

Court records show on March 25, 2014, Hampton, following a hernia repair, was an inpatient at The Medical Center of Southeast Texas. Thome was the hospitalist on duty. After her procedure, she was prescribed pain medication.

And although Thome did not personally see Hampton and assess her condition, he discharged her on March 28, 2014, according to the lawsuit.

Hampton had no immediate family or friends to take her home, so the hospital arranged transportation through her insurance policy. The driver told the hospital that Hampton was unsuitable for discharge, court records show.

The following day, the Port Arthur Fire Department found Hampton face down in a prone position. She was taken back to the hospital. Hampton had a broken nose and was so weak that she could not stand, according to the lawsuit.

After spending several days in the hospital, she was released and continued to have right shoulder complaints. By July 1014, Hampton entered treatment at the Beaumont Bone and Joint Institute because she could not raise her shoulder.

Thome’s explanation of Hampton’s fall was that he was provided “conflicting” information by an unknown family member that she was independently ambulatory (able to walk), according to the suit.  

Court records show that nearly a year before the trial, Thome had filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the statute of limitations had elapsed on Hampton’s claims.

Nevertheless, the case was called up for trial earlier this month.

On May 8, a jury found Thome’s alleged negligence was a proximate cause of Hampton’s injury, awarding her $400,000 for her mental anguish and pain, $150,000 for her impairment and $5,678 for medical expenses.

Prior to the trial, court records show a motion in limine was granted, prohibiting the defense from making the argument that Thome treats hundreds to thousands of people every year and that this is the first lawsuit of its kind against him.

Hampton is represented by Port Neches attorney Collin Cobb.

Stafford attorney James Edwards represents Thome.

Judge Baylor Wortham, 136th District Court, presided over the trial.

Case No. D-198545

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Organizations in this Story

Jefferson County District Court The Medical Center of Southeast Texas

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