From N&O 7/19/1998 "Edwards' success is campaign issue"
...But lawyers who have faced Edwards in the courtroom say he is a master of playing on the heartstrings of jurors who have a natural sympathy for brain-damaged babies or for people who have been paralyzed. And they argue that Edwards, more than any other personal injury lawyer in North Carolina, is responsible for changing the legal climate, where huge verdicts are now acceptable.
The cost for some caught in Edwards lawsuits is more than monetary.
That was the case of Dr. Brian Sherrington, a Southern Pines pediatrician, who was sued along with an obstetrician and Moore County Regional Hospital when a baby was born prematurely with severe respiratory problems and with brain damage.
Sherrington was not involved in the baby's delivery. But after the baby was born, he was called by a nurse for a brief telephone consultation when he was the only doctor the hospital could reach. He told the hospital to get a chest X-ray.
Sherrington says three years of "agony" elapsed from the time he was sued to when the suit against him was dropped in 1992. (A settlement was reached between the parents of the child and the obstetrician.)
"To say it had an impact on my life and career is an understatement," says Sherrington, who has practiced for 22 years. "It made me more defensive. I'm second-guessing myself more often. I am second-guessing patients. Are they really telling me everything? Are they holding back anything? Those sorts of things never used to float around my mind."
One result of the suit is that Sherrington stopped practicing neonatology, the branch of pediatrics that deals with the care of sick newborns. He still practices pediatrics.
"I was depressed," Sherrington says. "I even thought about leaving medicine, leaving the area. It was really devastating. I just kept feeling guilty about the whole thing. I felt I had made a mistake, despite evidence to the contrary...."
Dr. Sherrington is a good person and a good doctor. He was my pediatrician when I was a child and I am happy he is now my child's. Sorry, but he did not deserve what John Edwards did to him. That Dr. Sherrington dropped out of neonatology is not only a loss to the community, it is symptomatic of what happens to good doctors at the hands of trial lawyers who claim they have done something "wrong."