LUMBERTON — A Robeson County jury recently ordered a former Fayetteville doctor to pay more than $6 million for malpractice that left a Lumber Bridge woman unable to receive cancer treatment.
The woman, Geraldine Nicholson, died on Oct. 12, 2006, after spending nearly a year in the hospital from complications following surgery for rectal and colon cancer, according to the lawsuit that was filed May 21, 2008.
She was a mother of three and a wife of 35 years, according to the Fayetteville Observer.
The lawsuit said Dr. Arleen Kaye Thom left a surgical sponge in Nicholson’s abdomen that remained undiscovered for 10 weeks following the initial surgery.
The 18-by-18-inch sponge caused infections and illnesses that prevented Nicholson from undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment for the cancer that killed her, according to Lumberton attorney J.W. Musselwhite, who represented Nicholson’s family. The Robesonian was unable to reach Musselwhite, but his law office did provide information about the lawsuit.
Musselwhite told the paper the lawsuit was for negligence and inadequate care and not wrongful death. Thom, who is no longer practicing as a physician because of health reasons, has denied responsibility.
On Oct. 10, Thom was ordered to pay more than $5 million to Nicholson’s estate and $750,000 to her husband, Stephen.
Thom has not been on the staff for the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for several years, according to Clinton Weaver, a spokesperson for Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.
According to the North Carolina Medical Board, Thom’s medical license has been inactive since 2006.