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Cleveland County jury awards $2.5 million in malpractice case

The jury found a Norman doctor negligent in the death of a Thackerville woman who underwent gastric bypass surgery and died two days later.
BY JANE GLENN CANNON Published: November 6, 2013

— An attorney for a Norman doctor who lost a malpractice case says he and his client are considering an appeal of a jury verdict that awarded $2.5 million to the family of a woman who died after undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

A Cleveland County jury returned the verdict Friday in favor of Anthony Smith, on behalf of the heirs of Donna Smith, and against Lana Nelson, M.D.

Attorney Spencer Housley, who represented the plaintiff, said the verdict “in essence, vindicated Donna Smith, who didn't get the care she should have. The family had to come in and deal with old wounds during the trial. It was very hard on them. Obviously, they are pleased with the jury's decision.”

Housley said the woman died of uncontrolled bleeding that went undetected after the surgery.

Jeff Glendening, who represented Nelson, said he was “stunned” by the verdict and disagrees that any malpractice occurred.

Smith, 50, died of underlying health problems that made the surgery risky, Glendening said.

Smith previously had suffered a stroke that partially immobilized her and caused her to gain an excessive amount of weight that she couldn't lose by conventional methods, Glendening said. The woman weighed more than 300 pounds and had diabetes when she elected to have the gastric bypass surgery, he said.

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