Bibb County jury awards $4.3 million to parents after baby’s death

A Bibb County jury has awarded a couple more than $4 million in a wrongful death lawsuit involving the woman’s baby.

In 2009, Katherine B. Dean and her husband, Lester Harold Dean IV, filed a lawsuit contending that defendants in the case had failed to provide proper and timely medical care to Katherine Dean and her unborn son.

On April 21, a jury in Bibb County State Court found for the Deans, awarding them $3.5 million. The jury also awarded Katherine Dean $600,000 for her pain and suffering, as well as $200,000 to the plaintiffs, as estate administrators, for the unborn child’s pain and suffering. There were also awards for medical bills and funeral expenses.

The awards were against Dr. Henry J. Davis and Dr. Kerry D. Holliman in their work for Central Georgia Women’s Health Center in Macon.

The jury deliberated about 2 1/2 hours, capping an eight-day trial.

Attempts to reach Davis’ attorney, Earl McCall of Albany, and Holliman’s attorney, Robert G. Tanner of Atlanta, for comment Monday were unsuccessful.

In the lawsuit, Katherine Dean said that while she was pregnant, she received prenatal care from Davis and Holliman. On July 25, 2007, she underwent an ultrasound procedure that showed a change in her cervix that required medical care. Holliman and “the other agents and employees” of the Women’s Health Center “failed to provide that medical care,” the lawsuit said.

On July 31, Dean called Davis and told him that she had experienced a dark vaginal discharge and that she had been told, as a result of the ultrasound, that she had a shortened cervix. Davis advised her to get evaluated at a hospital, and Dean did so. At that point, Dean and her baby were in good health, the lawsuit said.

She was admitted to Coliseum Medical Centers on July 31, and in the ensuing days, the defendants failed to recognize and deal with “a developing situation” that was life-threatening to her baby. As a result of the defendants’ “collective negligence,” the lawsuit said, Dean experienced pain and suffering, and her baby, Charles David Dean, died after his delivery.

Dean “was a woman at risk for a preterm birth based on her prior surgical history, and as a result she was being watched” for particular symptoms, said Tracey Dellacona, one of three plaintiffs’ attorneys, along with Chris Clark and Mike Smith. Subsequent tests showed that Dean was developing those symptoms, she said, but the doctors “acted too late to do anything.”