By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Claire Linzell, 18, became the second woman awarded millions by a Wayne County Circuit Court jury after local Dr. Yasser Awaad misdiagnosed her with epilepsy as a child.
According to the Associated Press, the verdict was returned Oct. 29 but could be reduced by a judge because it exceeds a cap under Michigan law.
The pediatric neurologist was found negligent for the false epilepsy diagnosis and that Oakwood Healthcare — now Beaumont Health — also is negligent in hiring and failing to supervise Awaad.
Beaumont Health plans to appeal the verdict.
“While we respect the jury’s verdict, we disagree with the outcome and will appeal this decision,” a statement from Beaumont read.
Awaad’s attorney, Harry Sherbrook, said there was no intentional wrongdoing.
“Awaad said, he had discovered abnormal brain activity in Linzell during electroencephalograms, or EEGs,” the AP report said. “She was treated with an anti-seizure medication, but it turned out that the epilepsy diagnosis was wrong.”
McKeen & Associates is representing all 267 former patients with similar cases or claims against Awaad. Attorney Brian McKeen said the doctor was, “grossly incompetent or completely lacking in ethics.”
Wayne County Circuit Court jury on June 24 unanimously awarded more than $3 million to Mariah Martinez, 26, who was misdiagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 9 by Awaad.
McKeen said Awaad prematurely ordered electroencephalogram tests for Martinez, made the diagnosis and prescribed her anti-seizure medication from 2003 to 2007.
After those four years, another doctor determined Martinez’s tests were normal. Martinez recalled being withdrawn as a child and teased by other kids because the epilepsy label limited her physical activities at school, according to the AP.
Oakwood also was accused of ignoring complaints about the doctor, especially from another physician, Dr. Susan Youngs, who said she was uncomfortable with Awaad’s repeated use of EEG tests and regular diagnoses of epilepsy in children, according to the AP.
Awaad stopped practicing at Oakwood in 2007.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])