BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WALA) - A Baldwin County jury returned the largest civil judgment for wrongful death in the county’s history. Thursday, the $140 million dollar settlement was awarded to the family of Sharon Juno, who died from an overdose of insulin in 2008.
Fifty nine at the time, Juno had just been released from Thomas Hospital for a medical condition and was to follow her doctor's orders for rehab and medication. A life-long diabetic, Juno required insulin on a regular basis.
"She was killed by an overdose of Levemir insulin,” said plaintiff’s attorney, Skip Finkbohner of Cunningham-Bounds, LLC. “She was given ten times what she was supposed to get, which caused irreparable brain injury and ultimately her death."
Finkbohner tried the case and said it's one of the most alarming cases he's handled. Through the lengthy pretrial investigation, Finkbohner determined that Thomas Hospital and three transcription service companies were at fault. Two of the transcription companies, Medusing, Inc. and Sam Tech Datasys (both based in India) were subcontracted out by U.S. based Precyse Solutions. An error had been made somewhere in the transcription process.
"When the transcript got back to Thomas Hospital, our client was going to be admitted to a rehab facility and Thomas Hospital prepared admission orders and medication orders based on the unsigned, interviewed transcript," Finkbohner said.
The order was then sent to Mercy Medical where ten times the ordered dose of insulin was administered. Juno was found the next morning in a coma and brain dead. According to Finkbohner, Thomas Hospital said it had no idea that Precyse Solutions had subcontracted their service out to the companies in India, where strict U.S. medical guidelines were not being followed.
Finkbohner and his partners spent four years preparing for the trial, interviewing folks and taking depositions as far away as India.
"As we were preparing the case, we'd go and try and find evidence and that would lead…we'd ask a series of questions and that would lead to a whole series of other people who would need to be deposed and by the time it was all said and done there was testimony taken in six or eight different states on multiple occasions and over in India," Finkbohner said.
Attempts were made to speak with attorneys for Thomas Hospital and the U. S. based transcription company, Precyse Solutions, but they did not return calls prior to this publication. Neither Sharon Juno’s doctor nor Mercy Medical was found to have any fault in her death.