York man gets $1.25M in deal with local doctor

A York man declared mentally incompetent after being improperly monitored while on a spinal anesthetic will receive $1.25 million in a settlement with a Rock Hill anesthesiologist, according to court documents.

The suit, filed on behalf of Marvin Beckham, was heard this week in a York courtroom. It named Tenet Healthcare, parent company of Piedmont Medical Center; Amisub of South Carolina, which does business as Piedmont Healthcare System, and Dr. Robert Baker and his anesthesia assistant, Jill McCall, both of Anesthesia Associates of Rock Hill.

Tenet Healthcare and Amisub were dismissed from the suit before the trial began Monday, Beckham's attorneys Chad McGowan and Grady McMehan said.

The Medical Protective Co., of Fort Wayne, Ind., will pay $1.25 million on behalf of Baker and McCall, McGowan said. The settlement is expected to be court approved within two weeks, he said.

Baker and McCall could not be reached for comment on Friday. Defense attorneys Scott Stephenson and Robert Sumner, both of Charlotte, and Bobby Hood Jr. and Bobby Hood Sr., both of Charleston, also were unavailable for comment.

On March 3, 2003, Beckman, then 46, had outpatient surgery for kidney stones. The stay-at-home dad and former Rock Hill Printing & Finishing Co. employee returned for a second kidney stone procedure on March 17, 2003, McGowan said.

"Dr. Baker injected 80 milligrams of lidocaine, turned Beckman over on his stomach and left the room," McMehan said after court. "Jill McCall was left behind to take care of the patient."

Court documents note that Beckman experienced breathing difficulties, which led to respiratory arrest and cardiac arrest.

McGowan argued Beckman should not have been laid down and turned over so quickly as the medicine given in the spinal canal traveled up his canal to his head.

"It paralyzed his breathing," McMehan said. "Now, he requires 24-hour-a-day supervision given by his wife and family."

The document also notes Beckham suffered debilitating brain injury.

Beckham's wife, Carol, declined to comment when called after court, but McMehan said she was both pleased and relieved with the settlement.

"Before, her whole life was taking care of her husband," he said. "Now, she will be able to have someone come in the house and watch her husband so she can go to the grocery store."