CM Client Quest Diagnostics Prevails in Negligence Action Alleging Nerve Injury from Blood Draw
Plaintiff, Michael Bowbliss, alleged that he suffered a debilitating nerve injury as the result of a needle stick during a routine blood draw taken in connection with his application for a life insurance policy. Bowbliss alleged that the examiner inserted the needle at a 45-degree angle, in violation of the standard of care. Bowbliss claimed that upon insertion of the needle, he felt immediate and sharp pain radiating down his arm into his fingers. He further alleged that the examiner moved the needle while still in his arm until she found and drew blood, allegedly injuring his right median nerve in the process. Bowbliss claimed that, as a result of the allegedly negligent blood draw, he was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), an allegedly debilitating pain condition.
The First Trial
In March 2010, Bowbliss’s law firm filed a lawsuit alleging negligence against Quest Diagnostics and Quick-Med. Bowbliss’s wife, Dee Anna Bowbliss, filed a separate loss of consortium claim.
Although the first jury trial resulted in a verdict in favor of the Bowblisses, the damages awarded were significantly reduced by the trial judge, who found them to be speculative and unsupported by the evidence. The judge later vacated the entire verdict, when new evidence came to light calling Michael Bowbliss’s alleged venipuncture nerve injury, and the state of his marriage, into question.
The Second Jury Trial and Complete Defense Verdict In Favor of Quest Diagnostics/Quick-Med
The parties re-tried the case to a 12-person Fulton County jury in March 2014. Quest Diagnostics and Quick-Med presented the new evidence at the second trial, and after deliberating for only a few hours, the jury issued a unanimous verdict in Quest Diagnostics’ and Quick-Med’s favor, awarding Michael Bowbliss nothing. The verdict demonstrates that juries are skeptical of claims alleging nerve damage and permanent injury arising from venipuncture procedures, one of the most common medical procedures performed in the country.
In September 2015, the Court of Appeals of Georgia affirmed the award in favor of Quest Diagnostics and Quick-Med, officially ending the case.