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July 24, 2010

Surgeon found guilty of malpractice

By Tracy Breton
Journal Staff Writer

SOUTH KINGSTOWN — A Washington County Superior Court jury has found that the chief of surgery at South County Hospital, podiatric surgeon James I. McCormick, committed malpractice in his treatment of a 32-year-old patient.

The jury awarded Christy B. Durant, of Charlestown, $650,000 in damages, which with interest, comes to a total of $917,550.68. Judgment was entered against McCormick and his business, Shoreline Podiatry, on July 14 after a 10-day trial presided over by Judge Judith C. Savage.

McCormick’s lawyer, Stephen Harten, said Friday he would file a motion for a new trial early next week because “we respectfully disagree with the conclusions of the jury. The defense has believed at all times that the care given by Dr. McCormick was entirely appropriate.”

Durant’s lawsuit revolved around surgery that McCormick performed on one of her big toes in June 2005. She claimed that his negligence caused her permanent injuries and pain and suffering, and has required her to seek additional medical treatment and surgery to treat her condition.

The jurors found that McCormick was negligent in his treatment of Durant, failed to provide his patient with adequate information so that she could give informed consent to the surgery he performed, and that he’d had committed a “medical battery” on her — a count of the civil complaint that was added shortly before the trial began.

Durant’s lawyers, Providence lawyers Mark Mandell and Yvette Boisclair, declined comment on the case.

McCormick, whose office is in Wakefield in South Kingstown, is a board-certified podiatrist and a fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

“He is a very well-respected physician and has the unwavering respect of his peers,” said Harten. McCormick is the first podiatric surgeon ever to be named chief of surgery at a Rhode Island hospital, he said.