Jury comes to decision in medical lawsuit

Jacob Smith • Aug 11, 2017 at 8:01 PM

Closing arguments in a medical malpractice suit filed by a patient that involved a doctor and the former University Medical Center were given Friday afternoon, and after four hours of deliberation, the jury reached a verdict.

Billy Pemberton sued Dr. Jairo Fortich and the hospital now known as Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon for damages after Fortich apparently mistakenly cleaned a cut he had with Cavicide, a cleaner meant for inanimate surfaces.

The jury found the doctor and hospital were not at fault.  

Pemberton’s attorney Clint Kelly argued to the jury the label on the Cavicide bottle used to clean Pemberton’s wound clearly said it was not to be used on human skin. Because of this, Kelly said, the jury must find fault with both Fortich and University Medical Center.  

Fortich’s attorney James Looper then made his own closing arguments. Looper said the injuries Pemberton received were not made any worse by Fortich’s use of the Cavicide. 

Looper told the jury Fortich didn’t deviate from the standard of care, because the mistake was unintentional. He also said if the jury found fault with the care given, they should find more fault with University Medical Center than Fortich. 

University Medical Center’s attorney Thomas Wiseman presented his arguments after Looper. 

Wiseman said using Cavicide on Pemberton was negligent, but the hospital was not at fault. Because Fortich was not an employee of the hospital but an independent contractor, argued Wiseman, the jury should find him most at fault for the incident. The last argument given was again Kelly, who had the chance to rebut the arguments given by the other two parties. 

Kelly again said because Fortich didn’t read the warning on the label of the bottle, he was negligent and should be found at fault. 

After all arguments were given, the jury left the courtroom to deliberate on a verdict.

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