Donna is an experienced trial attorney with successful representation of professionals (with a primary focus on healthcare) in litigation, mediation, and before state licensing boards and professional credentialing organizations. Donna also counsels and defends healthcare facilities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.
She has extensive experience representing academic medical centers, integrated healthcare systems, dental service organizations, and long-term care facilities in pre-suit investigations, medical malpractice cases, handling of subpoenas and document production, peer review issues, and drafting and review of policies, procedures and training materials.
Her experience extends to assisting healthcare professionals during investigations and administrative proceedings by state regulatory boards and with hospital and insurance credentialing and peer review matters. She also provides counsel to insurance companies, third party administrators, healthcare providers, hospital and practice administrators, and in-house general counsels regarding claims, risk management, and regulatory compliance.
Donna also uses alternate dispute resolution when called for and has experience in mediation and arbitration.
Donna’s healthcare practice began in the Virginia Attorney General’s Office as an Assistant Attorney General in the Mental Health/Health Services Department. During this time, she participated in investigations at mental health hospitals and served as substitute counsel for several state licensing boards. After entering private practice, Donna used her extensive experience to handle hundreds of medical malpractice cases successfully, including more than 60 trials across Virginia. She is one of the most requested attorneys by healthcare practitioners seeking representation before Virginia’s regulatory and disciplinary boards.
Donna has been recognized for her results in Virginia Lawyers Weekly in the “Million Dollar Defense Verdicts” ranking as well as the “Top 5 Defense Verdicts”.
American Health Lawyers Association
American Society for Healthcare and Risk Management, Virginia Chapter
Defense Research Institute
Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
Virginia Bar Association, Health Law Section
Licensure and Board Defense
- Represented national healthcare system when its outpatient radiological technicians received “cease and desist” letters for practicing without state licensure despite a state law exempting technicians from licensure when practicing for a provider holding a hospital license
- Represented physicians and dentists accused of being impaired by drugs or alcohol and assisted them with the Virginia Health Practitioners’ Intervention Program
- Represented psychologist accused of violating boundaries by having an affair with a client
- Represented physician accused of improperly prescribing narcotics
- Represented physician after settling a lawsuit for failure to appropriately recognize and treat patient’s acute neurological decline
- Represented physician who was required to undergo competency assessment pursuant to Virginia’s “three strikes” statute
- Represented dentist with multiple offices on allegations ranging from improper advertising and billing to quality of care
- Represented nurse anesthetist following death of a patient
- Obtained complete exoneration of dentist after Informal Conference relating to allegations of improper treatment
- Represented a family physician who allegedly failed to appropriately manage a nursing home resident’s diabetes
- Represented a gynecologist who allegedly failed to inform a patient of her lab results in a timely manner
- Represented a pain management practitioner who refused to continue to prescribe certain medications
Medical Malpractice Defense
- Plea of Sovereign Immunity sustained on behalf of a nursing home administrator resulting in dismissal of administrator from the case with prejudice
- Defense verdict for gastroenterologist in lawsuit alleging a delay in diagnosing a perforated esophagus following an upper endoscopy with pneumatic esophageal dilation
- Defense verdict for psychiatrist in a matter in which patient was involved in auto accident after discharge from hospital for ECT
- Demurrer sustained on behalf of neurologist resulting in dismissal from case with prejudice
- Defense verdict in wrongful death lawsuit where endodontist was alleged to have negligently instructed the patient to take NSAIDs following a root canal leading to a gastric bleed and death
- Defense verdict for emergency medicine physician in wrongful death lawsuit alleging that physician was negligent in failing to diagnose arterial injury in patient who had been stabbed in buttock by his friend
- Defense verdict for gynecologist in lawsuit alleging that gynecologist failed to prevent and/or diagnose cervical cancer in young woman despite multiple Pap smears, colposcopies and LEEPs. Patient was incidentally diagnosed during a D&C by another gynecologist and underwent course of radiation and chemotherapy
- Defense verdict for a general surgeon in which a 72-year-old claimed that a subtotal colectomy was unwarranted to treat her two precancerous polyps. Plaintiff claimed the defendant did not obtain informed consent and the surgery caused her to suffer fistulas and chronic diarrhea and undergo additional surgeries
- Non-suit taken during trial in a case against a physical therapist alleging negligence during treatment that caused a fractured femur
- Defense verdict for family practice physician in a wrongful death case alleging failure to diagnose pneumonia
- Defense verdict for surgeon in a matter alleging failure to perform cholangiogram during lap chole and failure to drain and investigate hepatic fluid accumulation post-op
- Verdict of less than a third of pretrial demand for general surgeon stemming from the transection of the common bile duct during laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Patient required a Roux-en-y repair, suffered cholangitis and other complications
- Defense verdict for podiatrist involving allegations of negligence following injury to Achilles tendon
- Defense verdict for dentist in a matter alleging negligence in the performance of a root canal resulting in permanent cranial nerve injury rendering the plaintiff totally disabled
- Directed verdict for hospital in lawsuit stemming from patient falling in radiology department and suffering a compression fracture of his spine
- Defense verdict for general surgeon in lawsuit alleging that he failed to timely diagnose appendicitis in child after four days of observation in hospital. Subsequent care required two abscess drainage procedures at another hospital
Appellate Court Decisions
- Howell v. Sobhan, 273 Va. 184 (2008)
- Goodman v. Cole, writ denied in 2009
Lawyer case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by the lawyer.