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Jury orders Mayo Clinic to pay $4.8 million


A Duval County jury yesterday ordered Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic to pay a Pinellas County woman $4.8 million after finding one of the clinic’s doctors negligent in caring for the woman during a biopsy.Bruce Pearson performed a biopsy on Lisa Gabrelcik’s neck in 1995 in the same spot where she had previously had a biopsy performed, said Ralph Gonzalez, Gabrelcik’s attorney.

The procedure caused nerve damage that resulted in Gabrelcik, 31, having permanent difficulty speaking and swallowing, said Steve Yerrid, also her attorney.

Yerrid said Gabrelcik’s care before and after the procedure was inadequate and that the biopsy shouldn’t have been performed on the same spot that was already sensitive.

The civil trial began July 9 and ended yesterday when the jury came back with its verdict against Mayo and Pearson for negligence.

“This was especially satisfying because of the courage this young lady had to take on a powerful adversary like Mayo,” Yerrid said. “This says a lot about patients’ rights.”

Yerrid said Mayo Clinic will have to pay attorneys’ fees and court costs in addition to the $4.8 million. That exact amount will be determined in a separate court proceeding, Yerrid said, but he estimates it will be in excess of $1 million.

The lawyers who represented Mayo Clinic in the case and Pearson couldn’t be reached to comment.

“At the present time we believe there were issues that arose during the trial that we will want to have reviewed by the court of appeals,” Mayo spokeswoman Carol Chaffin said.

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