July 25 — Court officials say its the largest award in Toombs County civil suit history.
A Toombs County jury has awarded George and Betty Hand of Hazlehurst $3.9 million in their medical malpractice lawsuit against Vidalia Urologist Dr. Gilbert Gonzalez.
According to court records, Dr. Gonzalez used microwave thermotherapy to treat Hand’s enlarged prostate in late 2005. The procedure burned a hole between Hand’s rectal and urethral tissues which led to numerous surgeries including an colostomy. He lost his truck driving job and had to declare bankruptcy, according to his attorney Jim Shipley of the Tate Law Group in Savannah.
The court order signed by Superior Court Judge Robert Reeves also ordered Dr. Gonzalez to pay post-judgement interest and costs.
His attorney, Chip Benton of Atlanta, did not return our call but has 30 days to decide if the case will be appealed. A previous appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals was denied and sent the case back for a new trial which concluded last week.