After deliberating about three hours Thursday night, a Jefferson County Circuit Court jury awarded a Lincoln County woman $1.75 million in a medical malpractice case.

After deliberating about three hours Thursday night, a Jefferson County Circuit Court jury awarded a Lincoln County woman $1.75 million in a medical malpractice case.


Angela Thornton had filed a lawsuit against Dr. Shabir Dharamsey, alleging that he implanted an internal cardiac defibrillator in her when the device was not needed.


Circit Judge Rob Wyatt Jr. presided over the trial, which lasted four days.


Pine Bluff attorney Gene McKissic, who with attorney Jackie Harris represented Thornton, said Thornton did not have any heart ailment at the time the device was implanted in November 2010.


According to the court filing, Thornton went to the Cardiac and Vascular Center of Arkansas for chest pain in February 2010 and was seen by Dharamsey and, at that time, was determined to have a weak heart.


McKissic said Dharamsey ran an echo cardiogram on Thornton two days later to confirm his diagnosis.


According to Dr. Lee A. Davis Jr., a cardiologist at the Heart Care Clinic of the South, an echo cardiogram is comparable to "an ultrasound of the heart. It’s used to detect any weaknesses."


On Sept. 27, 2010, another echo cardiogram was performed, court records said.


"Both echo cardiograms were normal and she was healthy before and after the tests but he continued to prescribe treatment," McKissic said.


On Nov. 11, 2010, Thornton was admitted to Jefferson Regional Medical Center where Dharamsey implanted an automatic internal cardiac defibrillator in her.


Court filing said the device could not be removed safely and Davis agreed, saying that after a period of years, attempts to remove it could cause the death of the patient.


McKissic said Dr. Morton Rinder of St. Louis , who is a board certified cardiologist and in charge of the cardiac care unit of a St. Louis hospital, testified, as did Dr. Heather Bloom, an associate professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who is a board certified electrophysiologist, and among her other duties, teaches doctors how to install pacemakers and defibrillators.


Both testified that they examined records from the case and that Thornton did not have heart disease when the device was installed.


According to McKissic, when Dharamsey was questioned by Thornton’s attorneys, he admitted telling her that she could die as the result of S.C.D. (Sudden Cardiac Death) but when he testified during the trial, he denied saying that.


Thornton obtained a copy of her medical records when she went to another doctor and McKissic obtained a set of medical records when he filed the lawsuit and said there were "a lot of discrepancies," particularly relating to medications prescribed, dates of treatment and methods of treatment.


"Anytime we prevail in a case such as this we’re pleased," McKissic said. "We thought there was enough evidence to get punitive damages but we also trusted that the jury would do the right thing."


A call to Little Rock attorney Rick Beard of the Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates and Woodward law firm, who represented Dharamsey, was not returned.


The jury verdict was for compensatory damages only. There were no punitive damages assessed.