Known as a tireless advocate for children and a fierce trial lawyer, Don Keenan of The Keenan Law Firm discusses how he used an innovative causation strategy to successfully represent the family of an infant who sustained a permanent brain injury as a result of her pediatricians’ negligence. Sally Bartholomew was born healthy, but three weeks later, she was diagnosed with bronchitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, and an upper respiratory infection. On January 16, 1995, Sally appeared to be turning gray and her Hilton Head Island, South Carolina pediatrician instructed Sally’s mother, Carol, to drive the baby to a hospital in Savannah, Georgia. In route, Sally stopped breathing, and Carol administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until EMTs could arrive. Sally’s brain was without oxygen for an extended period of time, and she suffered a traumatic brain injury that continues to limit her quality of life and capabilities to this day. Acclaimed trial lawyer Don Keenan explains how he immediately connected with the Beaufort County, South Carolina jury by beginning his opening statement with the story of Carol’s traumatic drive to the hospital and simplified his presentation from a PowerPoint to pen-and-paper exhibits to better appeal to an older jury. This is the first recorded case where causation was the initial focus, meaning that Don demonstrated what caused Sally’s brain injury before proving the doctor’s liability in failing to prepare for the worst possible outcome. After a three-week trial, the Beaufort County, South Carolina jury returned a verdict of $13.75 million in favor of the plaintiff, resulting in the highest medical malpractice verdict in the state at the time.
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