Radiology Negligence – Lumbar Spinal Fusion
After undergoing a lumbar discectomy and fusion of the lumbar spine, Mr. K returned to the hospital for a post-op x-ray to assess the competency of the spinal structures and instrumentation. The radiologist misread the lumbar x-ray as normal when in fact the instrumentation had broken down and migrated into Mr. K’s spinal canal. The following day, Mr. K was stricken with severe low back pain after raising himself from a chair. The migrating instrumentation had injured the nerves and blood vessels surrounding his lumbar spine at the L4-5 level. Emergency surgery was performed to remove the sprawling instrumentation, repair and refuse Mr. K’s lumbar spine. Unfortunately, after several years of rehabilitation, Mr. K was left with chronic pain and permanent limitations of his low back and right leg. Suit was filed against the hospital and radiologist for failing to read and timely report the migrating instrumentation to the surgeon. The case successfully resolved through mediation in the mid six figure range.
Negligent Respiratory Therapy – Mismanaged Ventilator
Mr. A presented to the hospital’s emergency department after sustaining multiple leg fractures and a severe injury to his lung following a motorcycle accident. Because he had difficulty breathing, he was intubated and hooked up to a mechanical ventilator. While in the ICU, his condition deteriorated over the course of the next couple of days and culminated with three (3) successive cardiac arrests. He never regained consciousness and died several months later. Suit filed against the hospital and its intensivists alleged the careless delivery of respiratory therapy generally, the failure to monitor the patient’s condition and the negligent mismanagement of the ventilator. The lawsuit successfully settled on the eve of trial for seven figures.
Debilitating Abdominal Surgery – 40-Year-Old Mother
A 40-year-old female with a history of endometriosis was seen at the emergency room with complaints of abdominal pain. A CT scan revealed abdominal adhesions with a possible intestinal obstruction. Doctors decided against conservative treatment and scheduled Ms. A for surgery the following morning. Surgery involved the lysis of adhesions with decompression of the bowel obstruction. Ms. A remained hospitalized for the next couple of weeks without progress. Surgery was recommended and performed once again. Regrettably, in cutting away additional adhesions, the surgeon removed Ms. A’s entire small bowel. She was fed parenterally for the next month before the doctors recommended the discharge to a nursing home. She opted instead for the transfer to another hospital in the hope for a possible transplant. She eventually underwent a successful intestinal transplant and, though she is not without limitations and side effects, she is grateful for her life, her husband and 12-year-old boy. Suit against the hospital and the surgeon was successfully mediated for a multi seven figure settlement.
Failure to Treat – Stroke Patient
Mr. H was a 58-year-old secondary school teacher who suffered stroke-like symptoms which disappeared and returned before he sought treatment at a local hospital. He was admitted for observation. Stroke-like symptoms returned the following morning, but hospital personnel failed to respond to his symptoms as they evolved throughout the morning. By late morning he suffered a severe stroke which left him with a permanent right-sided hemiparesis with mild to moderate cognitive deficits. Suit was filed against the hospital and neurologists for failing to timely diagnose and treat Mr. H’s multiple ischemic attacks and stroke-like symptoms with the clot busting drug Alteplase (tPA). On the eve of trial, the case settled through mediation in the low to mid seven figure range.
Delay of Care – Stroke Victim
Mrs. S was a 50-year-old caregiver who presented to the emergency department with transitory complaints of right-sided numbness and weakness, right-sided facial numbness and headache. Her symptoms abated while in the ER and she was admitted for observation. Her symptomatology recurred on the morning after her admission. Neurological rounds that morning failed to pick up on Mrs. S’s deficits. Her condition rapidly deteriorated and a neurological consult was ordered. The consult was delayed by several hours and, by then, Mrs. S was noted to be unresponsive, non-verbal, moaning and groaning. An MRI revealed an acute ischemic infarct of the middle cerebral artery (MCA). Mrs. S was left with a permanent hemiparesis to the right side of her body and tragically, she lost her ability to speak or write. On the eve of trial, the case settled through mediation in the low to mid seven figure range.
Hospital Negligence – Permanent Brain Damage
Mrs. P was just forty-five (45) years old when she was seen in the emergency room with severe complaints of abdominal pain, a history of uncontrolled reflux disease and a failed gastrofundoplication. After narcotic medication failed to control her pain, she was admitted for observation. While in the hospital, her condition worsened, she became hypotensive and, later that evening, arrested. Her stomach had herniated into her chest and burst. She sustained irreversible brain injuries and lapsed into a permanent vegetative state. The case against the hospital and two (2) surgeons successfully mediated just before trial in the low to mid seven figure range.
Insulin Overdose – Cognitive Deficit
Ms. H was a thirty (30) year old lady with a history of juvenile insulin dependent diabetes when she presented to the emergency room of a local hospital with fever and ulceration of her lower extremities. She was promptly admitted and underwent a successful fasciotomy of her right leg. She was discharged to the hospital’s step-down unit. Twenty-four (24) hours later, she received excessive doses of insulin at the same time from two (2) different nurses. She suffered an acute episode of hypoglycemia and was found the following morning in a diabetic coma. She was successfully aroused and stabilized and made significant strides with her physical recovery. She was, however, left with permanent, cognitive deficits. The case settled in the range of seven figures.
Nursing Home Medication Error
Mr. C was an 84-year-old resident at one of the personal care/nursing homes when he began to experience symptoms associated with his underlying heart condition. He was followed clinically for several days before he was prescribed a medication used to treat angina, hypertension and congestive heart failure. In spite of the medication, his symptoms worsened. He became short of breath, his blood pressure dropped, and he developed pneumonia. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he became hypoxic and eventually succumbed. It was learned through discovery that the pharmacy and nursing staff of the home negligently filled and administered to Mr. C, the wrong prescription. Instead of receiving the prescription to treat his angina, hypertension and congestive heart failure, he received a dopamine agonist used to treat Parkinson’s Disease and Restless Leg Syndrome. The case settled before trial for the limits payable under the C0mmonwealth’s Sovereign Immunity Act.