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The 2nd Largest Medical Malpractice Verdict in History: What We Learned

by The Beasley Firm  |  January 25, 2022  |  

Lessons from the Record-Setting Verdict in Gault v. Norwood

William Norwood, M.D. was a world-famous cardiothoracic heart surgeon when he was sought to perform a simple operation on a young boy with a slight narrowing of the aorta. For unknown reasons, Dr. Norwood performed an unauthorized procedure with catastrophic results.

The Beasley Firm, LLC was retained by the young boy’s family. Through dedicated, aggressive representation, our lawyers were able to obtain the 2nd largest medical malpractice verdict in history. The $55 million award ensured that the child would receive the highest level of care and treatment throughout his lifetime.

If you have suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice, contact our office at for a free consultation.

Takeaways from Gault v. Norwood

One of the biggest takeaways from Gault v. Norwood is that even giants in the industry can make devastating mistakes. Dr. Norwood was a renowned, highly sought-after heart surgeon, but his quick decision to perform an unauthorized procedure resulted in permanent brain damage.

Unauthorized Procedure

Stephen Gault was born healthy with only a slight narrowing in the aorta, the blood vessel that leaves the heart to go to the body. The condition is known as a “coarctation of the aorta” and requires only a simple operation through the rib cage to correct it.

In addition to this condition, the young boy had a small hole in his heart that was closing on its own. His other doctors had reported it as a non-issue. Stephen’s family took him to Dr. Norwood to repair the aorta, but instead of performing the agreed-upon procedure, the doctor performed a second operation to fix the hole in the child’s heart.

Catastrophic Mistake

In order to fix the hole in the heart, the young boy’s heart would have to be stopped. It would also require that all of the blood flow in his body be stopped. To protect the brain, they would need to cool the body to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tragically, the cooling process was done too quickly, and the brain was still warm when the blood flow was stopped. Shortly after being awakened from surgery, Stephen suffered a massive seizure. The seizure left him unable to walk, talk, or see. As a result of the malpractice, he will require lifelong care.

Experience Matters

One thing is clear in obtaining record-setting verdicts in medical malpractice cases, experience matters. At The Beasley Firm, LLC, we have been handling claims for over 60 years, obtaining over $2 billion for our clients. 

Our medical malpractice team includes lead attorney and licensed medical doctor James Beasley, Jr., registered nurses, doctors, a former NICU nurse, and medical research staff. Our unyielding efforts have earned us recognition as one of the leading medical malpractice litigation firms in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation.

Only weeks before securing the $55 million verdict on behalf of Stephen Gault, our attorneys obtained the largest medical malpractice verdict in Pennsylvania history.The $100 million verdict was awarded against a heart surgeon whose medical negligence resulted in a baby’s severe brain damage and amputation of an extremity.

Contact Our Office Today

If you believe that a medical provider’s negligence resulted in harm to yourself or a loved one, contact our office at for a free consultation.

We have a proven history of success in medical malpractice claims and will fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve. Call now to get started.

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