Selected Verdicts and Settlements
For a New York infant who suffered severe brain damage resulting from an alleged delay in delivery by c-section. It was alleged that there was a delay in properly delivering the infant via c-section. The mother agreed to a trial of labor, after having previously undergone a prior c-section (i.e. a VBAC – vaginal birth after c-section). The fetal monitor used during the labor demonstrated recurrent fetal heart rate abnormalities showing that the baby was not tolerating the labor. The abnormalities were ignored and the labor was allowed to continue. The fetal heart abnormalities worsened over the course of the next several hours. Ultimately, the fetal heart rate signal was lost and an emergency c-section was called. During the surgery it was determined the mother’s uterus had ruptured. The infant was born essentially lifeless and required extensive resuscitation. She suffers from cerebral cerebral palsy, severe cognitive deficits and requires assistance with all activities of daily living.
Nassau County infant who suffered severe brain damage resulting from an alleged delay in the diagnosis and treatment of a craniopharyngioma (a non-cancerous brain tumor). Our client’s mother reported to her daughter’s pediatrician that she was excessively thirsty and urinated frequently as compared to her other children. During regular physical examinations by the doctor, significant abnormalities in the child’s growth parameters regarding height and head circumference developed, but were not recognized. The child developed new symptoms and her existing symptoms worsened. Finally, she was sent to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with obstructive hydrocephalus (a build-up of fluid in the brain). It was determined that craniopharyngioma that was compressing the child’s pituitary gland, was causing her symptoms. We maintained that the delay in diagnosis resulted in the tumor growing and becoming significantly more calcified, preventing complete surgical removal. As a result, the child also required Cyberknife radiation therapy, placement of an IVP shunt and additional surgeries and treatment. The child suffered significant cognitive deficits and behavioral/impulse control issues requiring placement in a special school and an individual aide. She also suffered fine motor deficits requiring continued speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy. The long-standing compression of her pituitary gland caused permanent damage resulting in hormonal imbalance causing diabetes insipidus and the need for hormone therapy.
Kings County infant (one of a pair of twins) who suffered severe brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy, gross and fine motor delays and severe cognitive impairment resulting from kernicterus because of an alleged failure to timely and properly diagnose and treat hyperbilirubinemia (abnormally elevated bilirubin). The infant was born via caesarean section and discharged from the hospital as per normal routine. Three days later, the infant’s mother brought him to the emergency room because of a fever, jaundice, lack of appetite and decreased activity. There was a delay in diagnosing the infant’s hyperbilirubinemia and in transferring him to another hospital for treatment. Sadly, even after the transfer was completed there was another delay in the institution of the appropriate treatment, an exchange transfusion. As a result of the delay in diagnosis and treatment the infant developed kernicterus with severe brain damage manifesting as cerebral palsy and cognitive and developmental delays.
For the wrongful death of a 42 y.o. divorced mother of 4 children who died after suffering a pulmonary embolism. The patient was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with an abdominal/pelvic abscess as a result of a perforated bowel. She was administered I.V. antibiotics for one week. Prior to her discharge a CT scan was scheduled to be performed. The patient was discharged, however, without the CT scan being performed. She was readmitted to the hospital several days later and a CT scan at that time showed the abscess had not resolved. While she was admitted to the hospital the second time she developed signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism which were not addressed until it was too late and she suffered severe complications, resulting in her tragic death. It was claimed that the patient should not have been discharged during the first admission until it was established that the abscess was resolved via CT scan and that the hospital staff and physicians failed to timely and properly act upon the patient’s signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism. It was argued that had such malpractice been avoided, the plaintiff’s death could have been prevented and she would have made a full recovery.
For a married, 56 year-old woman who suffered anoxic encephalopathy (brain damage due to a lack of oxygen) resulting in visual and balance impairments as well as spasticity of her upper extremities. The plaintiff underwent a biopsy of her thyroid. During the procedure, complications developed and she was transferred to a local hospital. As a result of the complications the patient was agitated. It was determined that she needed a CT scan. After receiving sedatives that did not resolve her agitation, her doctors determined she needed to be anesthetized in order to perform the CT scan. Since the narcotics she was given would impair her respiratory function, she was intubated in order to insure she would still be able to breathe. Approximately 60 minutes later she suffered a cardio-pulmonary arrest. It took approximately 20 minutes to revive her. It was determined that she suffered brain injury as a result of oxygen deprivation.
For the husband and 2 children of a 46 y.o. homemaker who suffered a fatal heart attack. The plaintiff had presented to the emergency room complaining of nausea and vomiting, chest pain and excessive sweating. She was evaluated by the emergency room physician who ordered laboratory tests and an electrocardiogram (EKG), to evaluate her cardiac status. Despite the fact that the hospital record only documented the laboratory tests as having been performed, the defendant claimed an EKG was in fact done. The physician discharged her, attributing her complaints to an infection or an insect bite. The next day she suffered a fatal heart attack. It was claimed that if an EKG had in fact been performed it would have lead to a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment could have been rendered, thereby avoiding the disastrous result that occurred.
Westchester County infant who was born with congenital heart defects due to the administration of methotrexate to his mother during pregnancy. The mother presented to a local hospital with abdominal pain. A work-up was done and it was determined that she was pregnant. An ultrasound, however, did not reveal evidence of a pregnancy. An MRI was done and the mother was diagnosed as having an ectopic pregnancy. The mother was counseled to receive methotrexate for the ectopic pregnancy. She followed the doctors’ advice and received an injection of methotrexate. She returned pursuant to the doctors’ instructions to to make sure the methotrexate had worked. During the examination a fetal heart rate was detected and it was determined that the pregnancy was still viable. The mother then chose to carry the pregnancy to term. As the pregnancy continued, ultrasounds revealed the baby had developed congenital heart abnormalities and would require surgery shortly after birth. The mother delivered a baby boy. Two days after he was born he required major reconstructive surgery on his heart. The surgery was considered a success. Approximately 10 months later he required surgical implantation of a pacemaker. It was claimed that the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy was incorrect and the mother never should have been given methotrexate, which caused the heart defects.
Bronx County teenager who suffered oxygen deprivation causing brain damage and who sadly passed away one year later due to unrelated causes. Our client was a 15 year-old-boy who was diagnosed with recurrent sino-nasal cancer and was receiving chemotherapy. One morning, while at home, he developed trouble breathing. He was taken to the emergency room at a nearby hospital. Upon examination it was recognized that he was experiencing swelling that was causing his airway to become narrowed. It was determined that he required emergent intubation before the swelling became so severe that his airway became completely blocked. Several doctors and staff in the emergency room attempted to intubate him, but could not. During this time his airway closed and he lost consciousness due to oxygen deprivation. An anesthesiologist was then called and successfully intubated him on the first attempt. Unfortunately, it was too late and the oxygen deprivation resulted in him suffering brain damage. Sadly, our client passed away approximately 2 1/2 years later from his recurrent cancer.
A a 34 year-old, pregnant, married, Suffolk County woman with no children who lost her unborn child and required multiple surgeries resulting from an alleged failure to diagnose and treat Crohn’s disease. Our office alleged that our client’s obstetrician and a gastroenterologist failed to take the appropriate steps to diagnose and treat Crohn’s Disease, despite our client’s strong family history for the disease. As a result of the failure to timely diagnose and treat Crohn’s Disease, our client developed toxic megacolon resulting in perforation of her colon. She underwent an emergency abdominal surgery and developed a systemic infection resulting in the loss of her unborn child.
For a 56 year old union laborer who was not supplied with appropriate safety devices under New York’s Labor Law while erecting a tower crane at a construction site. While the plaintiff was guiding the jacking beam into place he was caused to fall approximately 20 feet down the superstructure onto debris and the ground below. He suffered multiple fractures, including two vertebra in his neck, his right wrist, his clavicle and multiple ribs. The neck fracture required surgery with hardware implantation. The plaintiff recovered, but continued to suffer a severely restricted range of motion in his neck and could not return to work.
For a woman who suffered gross disfigurement of her abdominal and vaginal areas as a result of the failure of her doctor to diagnose and treat necrotizing fasciitis (a “flesh eating” infection). The patient had presented to her obstetrician/gynecologist with complaints of a localized infection in her genital area, including a small, painful “boil”. Her obstetrician lanced the “boil” but did not obtain any pathologic study of the fluid and debris that was obtained during the lancing. During the ensuing days the patient developed terrible pain and symptoms of a more generalized infection. Unfortunately, despite attempts by the patient to obtain further treatment from her obstetricians, she was unable to secure additional care. Frustrated, she presented herself to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a severe necrotizing fasciiti that had destroyed much of the tissue in her vaginal and lower abdominal area. The patient required multiple surgeries which included removal of infected and destroyed and/or infected tissues over many months. Ultimately she was left with permanent severe and disfiguring scarring.
For a 48 y.o. male who underwent an elective circumcision revision and a penile augmentation procedure with five revision surgeries. The plaintiff developed significant scarring and loss of blood flow to the operative site. As a result he could not achieve an erection. He went to another physician for revision of the scar tissue in the hope he could regain function. A prosthetic pump was placed, but the patient did not regain adequate blood flow and developed a severe infection. Ultimately, the patient required a partial penectomy.
The wrongful death of a 58 year-old, Bronx County, man from gastric cancer. Our client was a self-employed carpenter who had persistent epigastric pain. His internist diagnosed him with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and prescribed medications as treatment. The symptoms persisted despite the use of the medications. His doctor did not send him for any additional testing. Ultimately, he began to experience loss of appetite, early satiety and fatigue. He was then referred for a biopsy and was diagnosed with advanced, late stage gastric cancer. It was alleged that an appropriate work-up would have revealed that our client had an active H. Pylori infection and peptic ulcer disease. It was claimed that if these conditions had been timely diagnosed and treated, the patient would not have developed gastric cancer. Sadly, he died 1 1/2 years after he was diagnosed.
A 76 year-old, Connecticut, man with recurrent lymphoma who was left a paraplegic as a result of a claimed delay in evacuating a hematoma (collection of blood) following spinal surgery. Our client was seen at a New York City hospital and diagnosed with recurrent lymphoma that invaded his spine; making it unstable. His doctor determined surgery was necessary to remove the cancer and repair the spine with surgical hardware. The surgery was performed and reported to be successful. During the post-operative period our client began to experience weakness and sensory deficits in his lower extremities. An MRI was done and showed a collection of fluid, thought to be blood, in the area where the surgery was performed, but it was not evacuated. Our client continued to have the weakness and sensory deficits, but they worsened to the point that he was unable to feel his legs. Surgery was then done to evacuate the collection, which was confirmed to be a hematoma. During the surgery it was determined that the hematoma had been compressing the patient’s spinal cord. Our client never recovered the use of his legs. He died several years later of unrelated causes.
For a blind 70 y.o. woman who suffered a stroke resulting in a dense hempilegeia (paralysis on one side of the body). The patient presented to the hospital with signs and symptoms that were clearly indicative of stroke, including focal neurologic signs. The patient was
administered heparin despite the fact that she demonstrated clear signs of a worsening bleed in her brain. The heparin was inappropriately continued for several hours before it was finally discontinued. Unfortunately, by that time the patient had developed an irreversible dense hemiplegia, ultimately requiring moths of rehabilitation and leaving her dependent upon a walker for ambulation.
Bronx County, woman who died as a result of a claimed 5 month delay in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Our client presented to a local hospital clinic with a “dry” cough. She was examined and a chest x-ray was taken. The x-ray was interpreted as normal and she was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. Our client again presented to the same clinic approximately 2 1/2 months later and again complained of a persistent, “dry” cough since the last visit. Another chest x-ray was performed. The x-ray was interpreted as showing a questionable abnormality in the patient’s lung, but no work-up was done. She was sent home with a diagnosis of allergies. Approximately 2 months later she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. She received radiation treatment, but the cancer ultimately spread to her brain and bones. It was alleged that our client’s initial chest x-ray was not interpreted correctly and that she was not properly worked up for her symptoms and radiologic findings. She passed away approximately 2 years after the diagnosis.
39 year-old, Suffolk County, man who died from a sudden cardiac event. Our client, who weighed 315 pounds and had not been to a doctor in over 8 years, presented to the defendant’s office with a rash on his legs. During the exam it was determined that he had hypertension. He was given blood pressure medication and told to return the following day. He returned the following day and the blood pressure medication had lowered his blood pressure, though he was still hypertensive. Blood work was done and revealed that the patient was also diabetic and he was given medication for this condition. He was instructed to have a number of diagnostic tests performed, including a thallium stress test. It was claimed that the defendants failed to instruct the patient that given his hypertension, diabetes and weight, he should not start a new exercise regimen until first being cleared by a cardiologist. It was claimed our client did start a new exercise regimen; losing 30 pounds over the course of one month. Sadly, approximately one month later he arose from bed in the morning, collapsed and died.
For an infant who suffered brain injury resulting in mild cerebral palsy. The infant plaintiff’s mother was 29 weeks pregnant when she awoke to her bed being soaked with fluid. She immediately called her obstetrician to advise of this development and was told that she would have to wait until that afternoon to be evaluated. When she was evaluated that afternoon testing was done to determine if her water had broken. The testing was negative. Despite the fact that such testing is known to have a significant false negative rate, she was sent home and told to come back the following week for a sonogram. Unfortunately, that evening the mother began to experience labor contractions and went to the hospital. Testing was done that revealed signs of an infection, but no medication was given for the infection for a number of hours. Ultimately, the mother delivered the child early the next morning. Pathological examination of the placenta showed that the infection had in fact reached the infant prior to delivery. The infection and premature birth resulted in the infant suffering sepsis, respiratory distress syndrome, intraventricular hemorrhage (bleeding within the brain)and periventricular leukomalacia (PVL).
For a 69 y.o. single retired woman who was the victim of a failure to diagnose malignant melanoma. The plaintiff went to the defendant dermatologist complaining of a “rice sized” lump in her left cheek. The plaintiff indicated that the dermatologist diagnosed the lump as a cyst and instituted a course of treatment for same. The plaintiff claimed that despite the treatment, the lump continued to increase in size. Seven months later she decided to consult with another dermatologist and obtain a second opinion. This dermatologist ordered a biopsy which revealed that the lump was in fact a malignant melanoma. She then underwent a resection of her cheek and a neck dissection. As a result of the surgery she had residual nerve damage and required skin grafting from her forearm to her cheek. She did not suffer metastasis or a recurrence. It was claimed that the defendant should have performed an immediate biopsy at the time of the first visit, and that if this had been done such radical treatment would not have been necessary.
A 52 year-old, Bronx County, man who died as a result of a brain bleed following a claimed improperly performed stereotactic craniotomy with biopsy. Our client experienced an episode of confusion and dizziness. He was admitted to a local hospital where an MRI of his brain performed. The MRI showed multiple abnormal lesions suspicious for either infection or metastatic cancer. A stereotactic craniotomy with brain biopsy was then performed. The procedure was reported to be successful. The following day, our client’s condition rapidly deteriorated and he had to be intubated. A CT scan was performed and showed that he was suffering a large intracranial hematoma (collection of blood) that was compressing his brain. An emergent craniotomy was performed to evacuate the hematoma. The patient never regained consciousness and died one week later.
A 65 year-old, Nassau County, woman who suffered a complete transection of an inferior branch of her gluteal nerve (a nerve that supplies the gluteus maximus muscle) during orthopedic surgery. Our client fell at home and suffered a traumatic fracture of her hip. She was taken to a local hospital where it was determined that she required a total hip replacement. The surgery was performed and reported to be successful. Following the surgery our client began to experience pain in her leg and difficulty walking. She returned to the surgeon and informed him of these symptoms. The surgeon attributed them to the surgery and reassured her they would improve. She was then seen by a neurologist and reported the same complaints, as well as the development of severe buttock pain and mild vaginal numbness. The symptoms did not improve and, in fact worsened. The neurologist ordered a battery of tests and it was determined that her inferior gluteal nerve had been severed. She was informed that she would not recover normal function of the affected area. It was alleged that the inferior gluteal nerve was not properly identified and protected during the surgery.
An 18 year-old, Kings County, woman who bled to death during childbirth from an undiagnosed, extremely rare form of cancer known to affect only women: choriocarcinoma. The young woman received her prenatal care from local obstetricians. During the pregnancy several lumps were identified on her side and breast. Her doctors surmised that they were fatty deposits. Shortly thereafter, our client presented to the hospital. Her vital signs were determined to be unstable and her laboratory results were abnormal. Shortly thereafter her doctors induced labor. Despite this, the labor was allowed to continue. The fetal monitor showed that the baby was in distress and the mother’s condition rapidly deteriorated. She was taken to the OR for an emergency c-section and a depressed baby girl was delivered. Sadly, however, the mother died as a result of acute blood loss. The baby survived without any long-term deficits. It was claimed that the patient’s lumps were not properly worked up and that a c-section should have been performed sooner.
A 48 year-old, Westchester County, woman for an alleged 22 month delay in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Our client underwent a bilateral screening mammogram at a local hospital that was reported as normal. The radiologist noted, however, that because the patient had dense breasts and a strong family history of breast cancer, a screening MRI of her breasts should be considered. Our client received a letter stating that the mammogram was normal, but it made no mention of the need for MRI examination. The official report with the recommendation for an MRI, however, was sent to the patient’s gynecologist. The gynecologist never advised the patient to undergo the follow-up MRI studies. Approximately one year later our client returned for another screening mammogram. The study was reported as normal, but once again, no recommendation for a follow-up MRI was made. Three months later our client complained of feeling a palpable mass in her breast. The gynecologist did not order any studies, nor did she make any referrals for treatment. Approximately 6 months later she again complained to her gynecologist of a palpable mass in her breast and that her breast looked “weird.” A mammogram was performed and reported as normal. The radiologist recommended that an ultrasound should be performed based upon the complaint of a palpable mass. The ultrasound was performed and reported as suspicious for cancer. Shortly thereafter, our client underwent a total mastectomy. It was determined that her tumor was very large (5 cm) and that she suffered from multifocal metastatic breast cancer with metastasis to multiple lymph nodes. Fortunately, our client survived without a recurrence of her cancer. It was claimed that the patient’s mammograms were interpreted incorrectly and that her complaint of a palpable mass in her left breast was not properly worked up.
A 73 year-old Nassau County, Eucharistic Minister who suffered severe median nerve, ulnar nerve and radial nerve damage resulting in significant impairment of the ability to use her hand and arm. The patient was in a local hospital for pneumonia. As part of the work-up an arterial blood gas sample was taken from the radial artery in her wrist. Shortly after the sample was taken the patient complained of pain and bruising at the site. The bruising and pain worsened. Despite making the staff aware of her complaints, nothing was done until 4 days later when she was seen by a hand surgeon. The hand surgeon was concerned about a possible compartment syndrome, but determined surgery was not necessary. Ultimately, she was discharged from the hospital with severe limitations in the ability to use her hand and arm. It was claimed that there was a failure to provide adequate compression to the site from which the arterial blood gas sample was taken in order to prevent bleeding. The failure to do so allowed continued bleeding resulting in the formation of a hematoma (collection of blood) that compressed the patient’s nerves, causing significant, irreparable damage.
For a single mother of two children who suffered a failure to diagnose breast cancer. The patient underwent a routine screening mammography that was interpreted as normal. Several months later she felt a lump in her breast and reported it to her physician. One year after the initial mammography another mammogram was done and revealed evidence of breast cancer. Testing ultimately revealed that the patient had breast cancer and she required a lumpectomy with chemotherapy and radiation. It was claimed that the initial mammogram was read incorrectly and, in fact, showed evidence of breast cancer. Plaintiff argued that had the diagnosis been properly made at that time the plaintiff’s cancer would not have spread as far as it did and she would not have required the extensive and painful treatments that were necessary. As of the time the case was proceeding to trial the plaintiff had remained cancer free.
For the family of a 54 year old woman who died as a result of the failure to timely and properly diagnose colon cancer. The plaintiff had a family history of colon cancer. The defendant performed three colonoscopies on the plaintiff during a six year period. During this time the plaintiff complained of rectal bleeding and pain on numerous occasions. She was also found to be anemic on at least one occasion. The defendant attributed these complaints to hemorrhoids. The reports relevant to the two earlier colonscopies indicated that the defendant had not visualized the ascending colon and cecum. Thus, pursuant to appropriate practice, they could not be considered complete. The defendant claimed he could not advance the scope beyond the transverse colon. Ultimately, an exploratory surgery was performed on the patient to determine the cause of her symptoms and a cancerous mass was found in her cecum. Consequently, much of the patient’s intestines were removed. She was diagnosed with Stage III cancer, administered palliative chemotherapy and died after the cancer further metastasized.
A 76 year-old, Suffolk County, woman who suffered mesenteric ischemia (lack of blood flow to the gut) and required emergent surgery following a cardiac catheterization. Our client had a cardiac catheterization with angioplasty and stenting done at a Nassau County hospital. That evening, while still in the hospital, she complained of gastrointestinal pain and was given medication. The next day, just prior to discharge, she reported severe abdominal pain to a resident. She was given medication, but was discharged without an examination. On her way home the pain continued to worsen and she had an episode of significant vomiting. She went directly to the ER at a hospital in Suffolk County. It was determined that a large clot in one of her blood vessels was cutting off the blood supply to her mesentery (i.e. mesenteric ischemia). She was taken for emergency surgery and a portion of her intestines was found to be “dying” because of a lack of blood flow. The “dying” intestine was removed. It was claimed that the patient developed the clot in her artery because the therapeutic catheterization procedure was not properly performed and that the mesenteric ischemia was not timely diagnosed and treated.
A 56 year-old, Suffolk County, woman who died as a result of a claimed 1 year delay in the diagnosis of lung cancer. Our client was a 300 pound, former 30 year smoker who was admitted to the hospital for a gynecologic condition. During that hospital admission a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis was performed. The study incidentally demonstrated a suspicious lesion in the lower portion of one of the patient’s lungs. The radiologist who interpreted the study recommended that this finding be followed-up with further studies. Our client’s physician never followed up on this recommendation. Approxiately one year later she was admitted to the hospital. During that hospitalization it was discovered that she had advanced, Stage IV metastatic lung cancer. Sadly, she passed away three weeks later while still in the hospital. It was claimed that our client’s physician committed malpractice by failing to obtain follow-up studies pursuant to the radiologist’s recommendations
For a young child who suffered an unduly traumatic delivery resulting in an Erb’s palsy of her dominant arm. The infant’s mother had experienced a normal healthy pregnancy. At the time she presented to the hospital for delivery the mother was contracting and laboring normally. During the delivery the infant’s should became stick on the mother’s pubic bone, a condition known as shoulder dystocia, preventing the baby from being delivered. It was argued that when the physician attempted to accomplish the delivery excessive traction was applied to the infant’s head, causing a stretching and/or tearing of the nerves in the patient’s brachisal plexus. Upon being delivered the infant’s arm was limp. Unfortunately, while some function of the arm was recovered the child was left with a permanent disability.
For a 27 y.o. woman who underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy for cervical carcinoma in situ. During the surgery, which was performed by a lead surgeon assisted by a resident, a stitch was improperly placed in the patient’s intestine. As a result of the improperly placed stitch, the young woman developed a severe systemic infection which was not timely diagnosed. By the time the infection was ultimately diagnosed the infection was so severe that another surgery was required, during which sections of her intestines were removed and a temporary colostomy was placed. While the young woman ultimately recovered, she was left with severe abdominal scarring.
For an infant boy who was maimed as a result of a routine circumcision. The infant was delivered as a healthy and normally developed child after an uneventful pregnancy. In anticipation of his discharge a routine circumcision was performed. Ultimately, it was determined that the circumcision had been performed incorrectly and the infant’s penis was disfigured and he had a laceration down to his urethra. He required extended periods of catheterization and multiple surgical repairs.
A 70 year-old, Nassau County, woman who suffered osteomyelitis in her cervical spine requiring a fusion surgery with hardware. Our client was experiencing a stiff neck and pain in her shoulders. She made an appointment to see her orthopedist. Her orthopedist ordered an MRI of her neck. Our client had the MRI performed and it was interpreted as showing “retropharyngitis.” The patient was then referred to a pain management doctor who treated her with anti-inflammatory medications and steroids. Several weeks later our client returned to her orthopedist and complained that the pain was now going down her arm. She was then sent to a pain management doctor who administered nerve blocks that relieved the pain. Another MRI of her spine was ordered and demonstrated osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) and infectious discitis. She was sent for immediate surgery involving removal of the infected bone, fusing of her cervical vertabrae and the placement of surgical hardware to stabilize the spine. It was alleged that the failure to properly interpret the original MRI and the administration of steroids in the face of an infection was improper and caused a delay in the diagnosis of an epidural abscess which was allowed to spread to the patient’s spine.
For a man in his late 70’s who underwent a routine screening colonoscopy. After the colonoscopy was completed, but before the plaintiff left the doctor’s office, he experienced pain and almost passed out. The physician examined him, performed an ultrasound, told him that he was fine and sent him home. The next day the patient presented to the emergency room at the hospital. It was determined that he had suffered a ruptured spleen as a result of the colonscopy and had developed a severe intraabdominal infection (peritonitis). He required extensive surgery during which a portion of his intestines was removed and the placement of colostomy (a bag to collect his stool).
For a 66 year old, 305 lb. diabetic retired court officer who required multiple surgeries following an improperly performed total hip replacement. It was alleged that the defendant surgeon failed to properly place the artificial hip and failed to issue appropriate instructions regarding how to turn the patient after the surgery. The nursing staff turned the patient post-operatively and the hip dislocated, requiring a second surgery. The patient also developed a post-operative infection which was not properly treated and necessitated additional surgeries.
For the estate of a 55 y.o. retired woman who was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle traveling on a highway when the driver lost control, entered the shoulder and struck a tree. As a result of the impact she sustained multiple fractures of her right leg, right arm and pelvis as well as a dislocated hip. She was airlifted to the hospital where she underwent multiple surgeries. Ultimately, she required additional surgeries after developing compartment syndrome. Sadly, she died less than 2 weeks after the accident.
For the widow of a 64 y.o. man suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and coronary artery disease who was scheduled for coronary artery bypass surgery. In preparation for the surgery several attempts were made to intubate the patient before the anesthesiologist was finally successful. The multiple attempts at intubation, however, traumatized the patient’s airway and caused significant swelling. Thereafter, the patient was extubated and the following day he developed signs of respiratory distress that went unrecognized and untreated. As a result, his condition deteriorated and he suffered a heart attack and respiratory distress syndrome. Sadly, he died 5 days later.
For the wrongful death of a 64 y.o. man who smoked for 40 years from lung cancer due the failure to properly take and interpret a chest x-ray. The plaintiff underwent a routine chest x-ray as part of annual physical exam. His doctor interpreted the test as negative. Eleven months later the plaintiff returned to the physician complaining of nausea, stomach cramps and pain and diminished appetite. The doctor examined him and prescribed him a special diet. When the diet did not alleviate his symptoms he was prescribed antibiotics followed by antacid drinks. Two months later his lung function was impaired and he had a bad cough. The defendant took another x-ray of his chest and diagnosed him with pneumonia. Several days later his lung function continued to worsen and he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. At the hospital additional chest x-rays were taken and, while they did demonstrate pneumonia, they also demonstrated that he was suffering from stage IV cancer of the lungs. He received radiation therapy and died two months later. It was claimed that the earlier chest x-ray was of such poor quality that it was essentially useless and could not have been relied upon to rule out lung cancer and therefore, the plaintiff should have been referred to another facility for a better study.
For a 60 y.o. homemaker who was the victim of a failure to timely and properly diagnose her breast cancer. The plaintiff, who initially did not feel any abnormalities in her breast, underwent routine yearly mammograms at the defendant’s radiology facility. Approximately 8 months later, the plaintiff felt a lump during a self breast exam and returned to the radiology facility for further studies. These studies revealed an abnormality and a biopsy was performed which revealed cancer (infiltrating lobular carcinoma and extensive lobular carcinoma in situ). Ultimately, the plaintiff underwent a modified radical mastectomy and dissection of 20 lymph nodes. The lymph node dissection revealed cancer in one lymph node. She was diagnosed with stage II cancer and underwent chemotherapy. By the time of trial she had not suffered a metastasis or recurrence. It was claimed that the radiologists at the facility failed to properly compare her current mammogram with those taken previously as is required by the standard of care and that if they had done so her cancer would have been diagnosed while it was still Stage I, thereby requiring less aggressive treatment.
For a woman in her late 30’s who suffered a vesico-vaginal fistula (communication between the bladder and the vagina) requiring multiple corrective surgeries. The plaintiff underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy and removal of her fallopian tubes and ovaries. Post-operatively, after a urinary catheter was removed, she complained of “non-stop” urination and leakage. After several weeks it was determined that she had a vesico-vaginal fistula which was allowing urine to leak from her bladder and out of her vagina. Thereafter, she underwent several surgical repair attempts. Ultimately, after about 8 months the fistula was successfully surgically repaired at another facility. It was alleged that the surgeon who performed the original surgery had done so improperly, thereby causing the fistula.
For a 44 y.o. woman who discovered a lump in her breast during a self-exam. She underwent a mammogram several weeks later that was reported as normal. The physician who performed the mammogram, however, also felt the lump and decided to perform a sonogram. The sonogram showed that the mass was either solid or a cyst. (If the mass was solid, that could signify cancer). The radiologist referred the patient to a surgeon who specialized in breast disease for the aspiration. The surgeon had examined the patient on other occasions in the past. The surgeon determined, based upon his exam and the report of the sonogram, that the lump was an enlarged lymph node. The surgeon ordered a follow-up sonogram for 3 months later. The sonogram was done and was interpreted as showing a cyst. The plaintiff claimed that the mass was still present at this time, but the surgeon denied its presence. Seven months later the plaintiff returned to the surgeon with her husband at which time both pleaded with him to take some action. The surgeon attempted an aspiration, but was unable to obtain any specimen for testing. Ultimately, the patient underwent a lumpectomy and a 1.6 cm cancerous tumor was removed. A sentinel lymph node biopsy was performed and showed that a small amount of the cancer had spread to one lymph node. The patient required chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She had not experienced a metastatsis or recurrence of the cancer by the time the case went to trial.
For a 32 y.o. married school teacher whose breast cancer was allowed to advance due to a delay in diagnosis. The plaintiff discovered a mass in her breast on self-exam. She went to her physician and complained of the lump. A sonogram was performed which revealed microcalcifications in a different portion of the breast. The report suggested that the microcalcifications should be biopsied and left the decision as to whether or not to perform a biopsy of the palpable mass to the surgeon. Three months later the stereotactic biopsy was performed only in the area of the microcalcifications and yielded non-malignant results. During the course of the next year the plaintiff felt the palpable mass begin to grow. Approximately 11 months after the initial biopsy, a biopsy of the palpable mass was performed and revealed cancer. The patient was diagnosed with Stage II cancer and underwent a lumpectomy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. It was alleged that the failure to biopsy the palpable mass at the time of the sterotactic biopsy caused a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of the patient’s cancer.