Surgical Error Causes Womans Death


A Roanoke, Virginia jury awarded a verdict of more than $340,000 to the relatives of a Giles County woman who died in 2001 as a result of a botched lung removal surgery.

The jurors found Dr. Bradley Nicholson negligent in the death of 62-year-old Frances Cumbee. Their judgment determined that Nicholson should pay more than $66,000 in compensation for medical and funeral expenses and an additional $40,000 to each of Cumbee’s seven children.

Nicholson worked as a general surgeon for Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital until September 2001, when the hospital suspended his privileges to operate there. That same year, the Virginia Board of Medicine reprimanded him for unprofessional conduct that endangered his patients’ health, citing Cumbee’s case as one of the more egregious examples.

Cumbee’s family first filed their $3 million lawsuit in 2002. The case went to trial three times. The first trial, in June 2006, was declared a mistrial because of evidence issues. The second trial, in February, ended with a hung jury. The third trial began Dec. 11. The jury returned its verdict Dec. 17.