FORT LAUDERDALE – A Lauderdale Lakes resident who was left in a vegetative state after a medical procedure in December 2008 has been awarded $28.5 million in a four week jury trial.
He was awarded $23.57 million for past and future medical expenses and $5 million for pain and suffering.
Jurors also awarded $5 million to each of two small children of the victim, Dale Whyte.
Attorneys from the Fort Lauderdale-based Kelley/Uustal law firm headed by Robert Kelley filed a medical malpractice lawsuit on his behalf in February 2009, two months after the procedure known as “manipulation under anesthesia” was performed on Whyte at the Atlantic Surgical Center in Pompano Beach.
Bonnie Navin, an attorney with the firm who handled the Whyte case, said Wednesday that Whyte suffered from a lack of oxygen to his brain for at least five minutes. She said he has some internal awareness but cannot communicate except for blinking his eyes and crying.
According to Navin, Whyte’s family immigrated from Jamaica when he was a teenager and opened the Caribbean Restaurant in Miami.
The Florida Memorial University graduate moved to Broward County and worked with a security and accounting business in Fort Lauderdale.
Navin said Whyte was a diabetes patient of Dr. Basil Mangra, whose practice was then at Florida Medical Center.
During the controversial procedure called manipulation under anesthesia, a procedure he never needed nor met criteria to undergo, his lawyers said, the anesthesiologist failed to heed monitors warning of problems with Whyte during the procedure. those problems, coupled with a cervical manipulation Whyte never needed, his attorneys argued, resulted in loss of oxygen to the brain, cardiac arrest and resulting permanent brain injury.
The award was made against Mangra and another doctor, Thomas Rodenberg, who were found to be not only negligent by a “greater weight of the evidence” standard but also by “clear and convincing evidence.” Mangra and Rodenberg’s attorneys tried to blame a third doctor, Steven Brown, but Jurors said Brown, was not responsible for Whyte’s condition.
Whyte is currently being cared for at his home in Georgia, where his mother, Carol Whyte, and his sister, Shelly Ann Watson, along with caretakers, have been watching over him, Navin said.
At the time of the incident, Whyte was engaged to Tina McGee and they have two girls, now aged 6 and 8.