Randy Kinnard and Mary Ellen Morris of Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge obtained the largest verdict in Weakley County history for their 23 year-old client.
This trial lasted five weeks, tried before a jury of 5 men and 7 women, in Dresden, TN. Randy Kinnard and Mary Ellen Morris represented the plaintiff, a 23 year-old man. The jury returned their verdict of $15.2 million for the plaintiff.
When he was 17 years old, Cody Wade was in a car wreck in Weakley County and suffered multiple injuries. He was air flighted to Memphis to The Regional Medical Center, a trauma center. He had a tracheostomy tube placed via neck, into airway after being intubated for four days. He had serious injuries: ten broken ribs, broken bones, broken wrist, had skin grafts, abrasions on back and legs, arms and face.
After a slow month of recovery at The Med, he was not able to walk or talk, but was able to communicate by typing. The medical providers tried to remove the trach. After 24 hours, he complained he could not breathe right. They reinserted the trach tube.
He was sent to HealthSouth Cane Creek rehab hospital in his rural, West Tn. home town. His family doctor, Dr. Susan Lowry, became the attending doctor at rehab hospital. Cody was to be rehabbed with eventual removal of trach.
He made progress. Finally he could walk a football field with assistance. While he still had some moderate cognitive dysfunction, he was able to write messages and to mouth words.
During third week of rehab, Dr. Lowry decided to remove the trach tube. She removed it at the bedside, in the rehab center. Cody West was very worried, due to what happened with the trach tube in Memphis. Dr. Lowry reassured the family he would be fine.
18 hours later, he complained, "Feels like something is caught in my throat." Dr. Lowry and the nursing staff attributed the complaint to mucous. Dr. Lowry went home. The patient was left in the building with nurses only. He kept saying that he could not breathe right. They calmed him down.
A few hours later his airway collapsed.
They could not save him at rehab hospital. Nurses could not do an emergency trach. Paramedics arrived. Cody Wade arrested. They did CPR, and he came back, but with huge anoxic brain injury. Cody is now severely disabled, confined to bed for life. He cannot speak or move. The verdict of $15.2 million will take care of Cody the rest of his life.
Assisting Mr. Kinnard and Ms. Morris in representing Cody Wade was local counsel Roy Herron of Dresden, TN.