Mentally Handicapped Man Who Died in Sleep Study Sues Emory HealthCare


June 01, 2011

The family of a 25-year-old mentally handicapped man who died last year in a sleep study may see justice yet. They are bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against the companies who conducted the sleep study, Emory Healthcare, Wesley Woods Center, and Neurocare Inc., which was filed last month.

The young man suffered from a few different health conditions and by all rights should not have been permitted to undergo the study in the first place. Brandon Harris had a history of congestive heart failure, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, and hypertension. The sleep study was testing for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It involved having him lay on a table for 4.5 hours hooked up to sensors.

The sleep study was videotaped and on the videotape it shows Brandon waving for someone while he is on the table. He waves about seven times before a person attends to him, but by that time, he was already going into cardiac arrest. He collapsed and died before he could be treated. Brandon's mental handicap factors into why he did not get up off of the table when he started to feel badly. He was told to lay there and not move. Because of his lack of mental limitation, he followed the rules and continued to lay there even though he was in great distress.

The family's argument and case will be based on the fact that he never should have been cleared to do the study in the first place. Based on his medical condition, he was not an appropriate subject for the trial. Sleep apnea can trigger conditions like respiratory arrest so placing him in a position where he was in danger of experiencing these types of symptoms was unsafe. His doctor, who recommended that he take part in the study, also will probably be named as as a party in the case.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

A wrongful death action does permit a family to receive some sense of justice and may punish a company or entity that negligently or intentionally exposes someone to a dangerous situation. A wrongful death lawsuit may also provide financial compensation to help a family deal with such damages as funeral expenses, medical expenses, and the intangible value of the loss of human life. In Georgia, a jury may award damages based on the value of a person's life.

At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we know that no sum of money can truly compensate you for the loss of someone you love. However, we also know that you may face real economic challenges including loss of family income, extraordinary medical bills and funeral expenses. It is also important that wrongful conduct be discouraged. Where conduct is particularly aggressive or malicious, the court may even award punitive damages which are designed to punish and deter such conduct, and these damages can be substantial. The attorneys of Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, have been representing families just like yours in Atlanta and throughout Georgia for over 27 years.

Call Montlick & Associates today to see how our experienced Georgia wrongful death attorneys can help. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Posted by David Montlick

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied up as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.