Mobile neurosurgeon charged in crash that killed medical student now facing malpractice lawsuit

News 5 Investigates

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – A prominent Mobile neurosurgeon who is being charged in the crash that killed a medical student last year is now facing a medical malpractice lawsuit, court records reveal.

Dr. Jonathan Nakhla has been out of jail on a $200,000 bond after prosecutors say he was drunk and driving at speeds over 130 miles per hour when he crashed his car on west I-65 Service Road shortly after midnight on August 1.

Samantha Thomas, a passenger in the car, was killed in the crash.

Thomas was in her third year of medical school at the University of South Alabama when the wreck happened. Nakhla is facing a manslaughter charge in connection to the case.

Pictured is Samantha Thomas, the USA medical student who died in the crash on August 1, 2020

In addition to the criminal charge, Thomas’ father is also suing Nakhla in a separate lawsuit.

The manslaughter charge was bound over the grand jury back in September.

A few months later, Nakhla along with Mobile Infirmary, were hit with a medical malpractice lawsuit stemming from a surgery Dr. Nakhla performed in December 2018.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed at the end of 2020, Dr. Nakhla performed the wrong brain surgery on a patient which lawyers allege ultimately led to his death.

The lawsuit was filed by J. Allan Brown and Nolan Awbrey on behalf of Christine Metzger who was married to the patient who died, Dennis Metzger.

Pictured are Christine and Dennis Metzger (Photo provided by Attorney J. Allan Brown)

Court records reveal Dennis Metzger was admitted to Mobile Infirmary Medical Center on December 2, 2018 after doctors found a six-centimeter brain tumor on his left frontal lobe which was crossing the midline.

After several consults, the documents state Metzger underwent a procedure which was performed by Dr. Nakhla on December 7. During that procedure, lawyers allege Dr. Nakhla did not perform the surgery Metzger had consented to.

The lawsuit alleges, “At some point in time, Dr. Nakhla realized he performed the wrong surgery and either he himself crossed through the original disclosure to alter it or directed someone else to do so.”

Throughout the day after the procedure, the lawsuit says Metzger’s condition started to deteriorate.

The following day, Metzger underwent emergency brain surgery which was also performed by Dr. Nakhla. Metzger was in a coma and later died on December 11, just four days after the first procedure.

The immediate cause of death listed on his death certificate is intracranial bleed, court records show.

The lawsuit alleges Dr. Nakhla was negligent in his care for Mr. Metzger.

WKRG News 5 reached out to Dr. Nakhla’s attorney who represents him in this case. He told us in a statement:

“Dr. Nakhla has denied the allegations made against him in the Metzger case. We believe the evidence will be that he provided good care to Mr. Metzger and complied with the standard of care in every respect.”

Brent Baker, Attorney Representing Jonathan Nakhla

WKRG News 5 also reached out to Mobile Infirmary who is also being sued in the medical malpractice lawsuit. They told us in a statement:

“We are very sympathetic for this family’s loss of a loved one. We have no comment on matters of pending litigation.”

Spokesperson for Mobile Infirmary

The medical malpractice case is set for trial on September 26, 2022.

As far as the criminal case against Dr. Nakhla for manslaughter, it is still waiting to be heard by a grand jury.

Dr. Nakhla was fired from his job with Mobile Infirmary back in August 2020 pending his criminal charge.

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