The Southern Star, Ozark, Al. - August 1, 2001
A $1.5 million verdict against an Ozark physician was returned last week by a Dale County jury in the case of a Dothan couple whose child was stillborn.
The lawsuit was filed by Timothy and Christie Enfinger of Dothan, who claimed the actions of Dr. Dale Greene, an obstetrician-gynecologist, contributed to the wrongful death of their child, Maria Fay Enfinger.
Tabor Novak of Montgomery, attorney for Greene, said he was “very disappointed” in the jury's verdict, which was handed down despite some highly qualified, professional testimony from other physicians who said Dr. Greene gave good quality care to this patient.
In the suit, Mrs. Enfinger claimed she had gone to Greene for a routine examination during her 28th week of pregnancy. Her blood pressure was elevated and she had high levels of proteins in her blood, both of which are symptoms of pre-eclampsia, a condition that can prevent the placenta from receiving sufficient blood and inhibiting the transfer of air and nourishment to the child.
The Enfingers‚ attorneys, Mike Worel and Jim Yance of Mobile, said Greene diagnosed Mrs. Enfinger as having a urinary tract infection. Four days later, the attorneys said, she developed a severe headache and Greene directed her to meet him at the hospital. But instead of waiting for her, the attorneys claimed, the physician went home for dinner.
By the time Greene arrived at the hospital, the lawsuit claimed, Mrs. Enfinger began having a seizure, which ruptured the placenta and caused the child to be stillborn.
Novak said he understood the award was the first medical malpractice verdict in Dale County to reach $1 million, but added: “This is still a pending case”.