Ringside Physician Sued in $50 Million Negligence Claim

On October 17, 2015 boxer Prichard Colon was left in a coma following a traumatic brain injury sustained in a bout with Terrel Williams.  According to a lawsuit filed by Colon’s legal guardians the fighter to this date “lies in a vegetative state at his mother’s home with no prospect of every regaining his faculties“.

The bout was regulated by Virginia’s Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR).  DPOR investigated following the bout and in 2016 announced that, according to their internal review, “No regulatory violations appear to warrant disciplinary action” against any of the licencees involved in the bout.  DPOR’s full report can be found here.

Perhaps the most damning finding in the report is that Colon was allowed to continue fighting despite complaining of headache and dizziness following an illegal blow to the back of the head with the DPOR report noting

Colón was hunched over in the corner grabbing the back of his head. According to Kenny Rice, an announcer, Colón told (ringside physician) Ashby that he felt dizzy and was hurting in the back of his head but felt he could go on and Ashby concurred and was waiting for Colón to shake it off and resume action.`

 

Prichard’s family disagrees that no wrongdoing occurred and filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia alleging negligence against the bout’s promoters and ringside physician.

In short the lawsuit alleges that the ringside physician failed to adequately respond to signs of brain trauma and quicker intervention could have led to a better outcome for Prichard.  The complaint sets out as follows –

42. Dr. Ashby formed a doctor-patient relationship when he agreed to serve as the ringside physician for the fight.

43. Acting as Prichard’s physician, Dr. Ashby owed Prichard a duty to comply with the applicable standard of care.

44. Dr. Ashby deviated from the applicable standard of care. His deviations included, but were not limited to, accepting the position as ringside physician without an adequate brain injury protocol; agreeing to serve as a ringside physician and assuming the duty of care for Prichard while not having the proper training or medical knowledge to ensure the boxer’s health and wellbeing; failing to disclose his conflict of interest and to honor his obligation to Prichard over advancing his career as a promoter; failing to adequately screen Prichard for a brain bleed during the contest; ignoring Prichard’s complaints of pain and dizziness; failing to stop the fight and to send Prichard to the hospital and to otherwise render timely medical aid.

45. As a proximate cause of Dr. Ashby’s negligence, Prichard endured and continues to endure severe pain and suffering, lost the ability to engage in gainful employment, and suffered life-altering injuries that will require around-the-clock care for the rest of his life

In addressing whether the ringside physician met the applicable standard of the care the Court will likely look to, among other things, the requirements for ringside physicians under Virginia’s regulations which instruct physicians as follows

Virginia Duties of Ringside Physicians

This matter has yet to be adjudicated.  The full complaint can be found here – Prichard Colon Lawsuit

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