On January 27, 2018, after a one week trial, a Rutherford County jury returned a verdict for $1,062,432.23 against Dr. Mason W. Mandy. The jury also found that Dr. Mandy should pay punitive damages, which is a special type of award meant to punish wrongdoers for particularly egregious behavior. In this case, the jury found that Dr. Mandy acted recklessly, intentionally, and/or fraudulently. The case was tried by R. Sadler Bailey and Thomas R. Greer, of the Memphis, TN based firm Bailey & Greer, PLLC.
The verdict stemmed from misconduct that occurred in September 2014. Our client scheduled an abdominoplasty with Dr. Mason W. Mandy, who was at the time the medical director at Nubody Concepts in Brentwood, TN. Initially Dr. Mandy advised our client he would need a driver to take him home following the surgery. In response, the patient informed Dr. Mandy that he did not have a driver and requested his money back. Seeking to avoid the cancelation and the loss of financial gain, Dr. Mandy changed course and told the patient it was safe for him to drive roughly 90 miles home after the surgery, as long as he only used local anesthesia (i.e. no narcotics or sedatives).
This was a gross deviation from the standard of care, as the patient was almost guaranteed to require sedatives during such a serious operation. On the date of the surgery our client again reminded Dr. Mandy that he did not have a ride home. Predictably, during the surgery, the patient began to experience severe pain and anxiety and Dr. Mandy approved the use of a sedative called Versed, which can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and loss of memory. The patient was also given the anti-nausea drug Phenergan, which can have similar side-effects.
Following the surgery, the patient was placed in the employee breakroom and given a sandwich and some chips. After two hours of waiting, Dr. Mandy came into the breakroom and told him it would be safe to drive home. Dr. Mandy did not take vital signs or even examine the patient.
About half way into his 90-mile drive home, the patient experienced a stabbing pain in his stomach and lost consciousness, causing his car to veer off the road and roll over, totaling the vehicle. Our client was life-flighted from the scene of the crash to Vanderbilt Hospital. He suffered severe injuries including multiple spinal fractures, rib fractures, a pelvic fracture, and a torn rotator cuff. Our client endured a long recovery process with extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy.
Instead of admitting wrongdoing following the wreck, Dr. Mandy attempted to cover-up his misconduct by destroying certain medical records and creating false entries in other parts of the medical record. The fraudulent entries in the medical records show that Dr. Mandy attempted to blame the patient for driving, despite two eyewitnesses who heard Dr. Mandy admit to releasing the patient on the day of the surgery. The egregious misconduct by Dr. Mandy caused the jury to take the extraordinary step in allowing for punitive damages against Dr. Mandy. The parties reached a settlement before the jury actually assessed punitive damages.
Dr. Mandy also testified at trial that he did nothing wrong on the day in question and would conduct the same surgery without a driver in the future. Dr. Mandy’s reckless and fraudulent misconduct endangered the lives of not only our client, but everyone on the roadway that day. The jury’s verdict sent a clear message to Dr. Mandy that his gross misconduct will not be tolerated. Hopefully the verdict will serve as a reminder to Dr. Mandy and all other physicians about the importance of patient safety.