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Woman with flesh-eating bacteria suing Northeast Georgia Health System

GAINESVILLE -- Gainesville-based Northeast Georgia Health System is accused of medical malpractice in a lawsuit involving a Gwinnett County woman who suffered amputations as part of her battle with flesh-eating bacteria.

The lawsuit, filed in Gwinnett County State Court by Cindy Martinez and her husband, David, says that Cindy Martinez sought medical care at an Urgent Care center on Dacula Road in Gwinnett on May 24, 2015.

The complaint alleges “that her vital signs and symptoms clearly revealed that she was suffering from a serious systemic infection and sepsis,” states a press release filed the couple’s lawyer, Render C. Freeman.

The doctor and nurse on duty at the center “failed to recognize and treat this obvious infection,” the suit further alleges.

“The resultant 24-hour delay in treatment of her systemic infection allowed it to progress further and ultimately made the amputations necessary in order to save her life,” according to the press release.

She underwent amputations of both of her legs below her knees, her right arm above the elbow, large amounts of tissue and muscle on her left back and side, and portions of each of the fingers on her left hand.

“Allegedly, had proper care been provided at the … Urgent Care facility, no amputations would have been necessary.”

Cindy Martinez “would have continued to lead a normal life, raising her two young children,” the press release states.

Her medical expenses have exceeded $1.6 million and her future medical and life care expenses will cost as much as $8 million. Additionally, she will incur lost wages of approximately $2 million over her remaining life.

“I’ve never been involved in a lawsuit before, and I’m nervous about it, but I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else,” she said in the press release.

Northeast Georgia Health System, meanwhile, is declining to comment.

“We can’t comment on pending litigation,” spokeswoman Melissa Tymchuk said.