Medical Malpractice Case Results
Listed below are a few examples of cases in which The Law Offices of John Day's clients received positive results in medical malpractice cases. If you would like further information about the subject matter of any of these cases, please feel free to contact us.
Birth injury case results (cases involving an injury to or death of a child during the prenatal course or childbirth) are listed separately.
In many cases in which a settlement is reached, the plaintiffs and the defendants agree to keep the terms of the settlement confidential. The Law Offices of John Day honors these agreements on behalf of its clients and itself, and so the amounts of these confidential settlements will not be disclosed.
$1,250,000 judgment for death due to lack of dialysis. A mother whose kidneys had failed needed dialysis three times a week. As one of her dialysis sessions began, her nephrologist canceled the dialysis because the young woman was bleeding. The nephrologist had the patient transferred to the local emergency room, where the ER doctor placed a suture to stop any more bleeding. The nephrologist testified she also told the ER doctor by telephone to order blood work to see if the patient needed to have dialysis restarted. The ER doctor testified the nephrologist never told him to order any blood work. An order for blood work was nonetheless entered at the emergency room, but the patient was sent home before any blood work was done. Hours after the patient was sent home, someone from the hospital canceled the order for blood work from the hospital's computer system. The next day, the patient's family called her nephrologist, who assumed the blood work had been completed and was normal. The nephrologist's office told the patient's family that the patient could wait another day for her dialysis. The young mother died that evening due to hyperkalemia, meaning an excessive amount of potassium that would have been cleaned from her system by dialysis. The Law Offices of John Day filed suit for the patient's elementary, school-aged son against the ER doctor, the hospital, two ER nurses, and the nephrologist. After thirteen days of trial, a jury returned a verdict of $1,250,000 against the ER doctor, the hospital, the nephrologist, and one of the nurses.
$1,000,000 for undiagnosed pulmonary embolism. A husband and father of two girls complained of chest pain and difficulty breathing. His doctor assumed our client was having an anxiety attack and sent him home. Unfortunately, he was suffering from a pulmonary embolism, with a blood clot blocking oxygen from absorbing in his lungs. Our client died the next morning. The Law Offices of John Day sued the doctor and recovered the full one million dollars available under her insurance.
Brain damaged child. A 14-month-old child underwent heart surgery at a large medical center/teaching facility to repair a patent ductus arteriosis. During the procedure, the child's pulmonary artery was cut causing severe hemorrhage. The defendant surgeon claimed the device used to clip the vessel malfunctioned causing injury to the pulmonary artery. There was an excessive delay in obtaining and administering replacement blood, and the child suffered severe permanent brain damage for which she required total care. During the case, we also discovered the surgeon did not have the proper credentials or hospital privileges to perform such surgery and the hospital had failed to properly investigate the surgeon's background. The defendants in this case included the hospital, the surgeon and the surgeon's practice group, the anesthesiologist and his practice group, and the maker and manufacturer of the clip applier. The case was mediated and settled for an undisclosed amount.
Failed liposuction. A patient and his wife filed suit against a plastic surgeon and his practice group for medical negligence, medical battery, and failure to obtain informed consent. The defendant plastic surgeon was aware that the plaintiff had a history of abdominal surgeries and radiation therapy years earlier. Plaintiff entered the hospital for ultrasound-assisted liposuction to his left lower abdomen and posterior hips. Instead of only performing liposuction to the areas discussed, the plastic surgeon also performed liposuction to the mid-abdomen and right abdomen, crossing a large mid-abdominal scar with the liposuction cannula. The plastic surgeon failed to inform the patient of the risk of possible bowel perforation along with the risks associated with previous abdominal surgeries and skin and tissue damage from radiation therapy. The plaintiff's health steadily worsened after surgery, and he required emergency surgery the following day, which revealed a perforated transverse colon and four small bowel perforations. The plaintiff developed a deadly infection in the areas where liposuction had been performed, necessitating removal of his abdominal wall, life support, a tracheotomy, tube feedings, and multiple extensive reconstructive surgeries. A settlement was reached during trial for an undisclosed amount.
Missed diagnosis of cardiac problems. A man entered a hospital emergency room with complaints consistent with a heart attack. Additionally, at age 45 he had almost all of the major risk factors for cardiac problems. A chest x-ray in the ER showed clear signs of heart failure; however an EKG, cardiac blood work, and a cardiology referral were not ordered. He was evaluated by several physicians during his three-day hospitalization, but none considered he could be experiencing heart problems. Instead, he was treated for pneumonia. It was not until he was transferred to the intensive care unit and hooked to a cardiac monitor that the physicians learned he had suffered a heart attack. Transfer by ambulance to a heart institute was attempted; however, the patient suffered a cardiac arrest during transport and did not survive. Suit was filed by his wife and minor children against the hospital and five treating physicians and their practice groups for wrongful death. Claims against two of the five treating physicians and their practice groups were dismissed and the plaintiffs settled with the remaining defendants for an undisclosed amount.
Inadequate mental health care. The plaintiffs filed suit individually and on behalf of their deceased loved ones against multiple mental health care corporations, psychiatrists, a case manager, and the university which employed a resident physician who cared for the patient. The patient was a mother of three small children who did not receive the appropriate mental health treatment, intervention, and care management for her psychiatric illness. Additionally, reasonable care for the members of the patient's family was not exercised. Though the family begged for help, as a result of the defendants' negligence, the patient ultimately took the lives of her children and herself. The case settled for an undisclosed amount.
Negligent intubation. The patient was admitted to the hospital for repair of a brain aneurysm. Days later, a tracheostomy was performed and, because of excess tissue in the patient's neck, a stay suture was placed to help reinsert the trach in the event it became dislodged. While a nurse was turning the patient, the trach tube became dislodged and the nurse called her supervisor for assistance. Additional hospital personnel were called for assistance, including two physicians who unsuccessfully tried to intubate the patient. Neither the nurses nor the physicians attempted to use the stay suture to open the patient's airway. The patient then suffered cardiopulmonary arrest. As one of the physicians performed another intubation attempt, the surgeon who had performed the tracheotomy arrived and pulled the suture line attached to the stay suture in the trach stoma, which immediately opened the patient's airway and allowed intubation. Because of prolonged oxygen deprivation, the patient suffered a devastating brain injury remaining in a coma and requiring total care for the rest of her life. The plaintiff, by and through her guardian, filed suit against the hospital and the physicians and their applicable groups. The case was settled during trial for an undisclosed amount.
Improperly treated pancreatitis. Plaintiffs, a surviving spouse and her children, filed suit against a hospital, an emergency room physician and his corporation, two treating physicians and their employer, and a nurse following the wrongful death of their father/husband. The patient was admitted to the hospital intensive care unit on a Sunday afternoon due to abdominal pain, vomiting, and other symptoms. The emergency room physician notified the on-call physician this patient had been admitted. The on-call physician, however, abandoned the patient and failed to evaluate him. Additionally, the nurse in charge of caring for the patient that night did not provide appropriate care and did not secure the prompt attention of a physician for the patient. It was not until the following morning that a physician saw the patient. Unfortunately, this physician also failed to properly diagnose and treat the patient. The patient died that night as a result of complications from improperly treated pancreatitis. The case settled for an undisclosed amount.
Infection resulting in multiple amputations. A young mother underwent intestinal resection for Chrohn's disease. The day after surgery, the surgeon went out of town and left his patient in the care of another surgeon. The patient's status continued to worsen throughout the evening and overnight and, even though the covering surgeon was notified on multiple occasions of the patient's status and was asked by the patient's family to see the patient, the surgeon did not come. Instead, the surgeon gave orders for tests, increased pain medication, and medication for anxiety. The surgeon did not evaluate the patient until late in the morning, but still did not order a change in her therapy. That afternoon, the patient required transfer to the intensive care unit and life support, but the covering surgeon still did not recognize she had a massive abdominal infection. The patient was found unresponsive and had to be resuscitated in the middle of the night and was taken to the operating room shortly thereafter where she required additional intestinal resection for ischemic intestines in the area of her previous surgery. Due to the overwhelming infection and the delay in treatment, the patient suffered lack of blood flow to her fingers and feet along with organ failure. She later required below the knee amputations to both legs along with amputations of multiple fingers on both hands. The patient and her husband filed suit against the covering surgeon and his group. The plaintiffs later filed suit against the initial surgeon and his practice group for failure to order continued steroids for this patient who had been taking steroids for some time, and also filed suit against the hospital based on the covering surgeon's statements that the nurses failed to inform him of the complete nature of the patient's condition. The case was mediated and settled for an undisclosed amount.
Improper calibration results in excessive radiation. A 43-year-old woman underwent breast conservation surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy for breast cancer. She received twenty-four treatments of radiation and at the end of the treatments received a boost dose to the site where the tumor was removed. After a few weeks of radiation, she began experiencing unusual discomfort, redness, swelling and pain. As early as two months prior to this patient's treatment, it was noted that an excessive number of patients treated with this radiation linear accelerator were exhibiting skin reactions. After repeated requests made by the doctors for the physicist to re-check calibrations, the radiation physicist discovered that the computer was incorrectly programmed resulting in excessive radiation to this and other patients. This patient had received almost 80% more whole breast radiation than prescribed and was left with disfigurement, unrelenting pain, and fears related to her medical condition and future health. The patient and her husband filed suit against the hospital and the case was mediated and settled for an undisclosed amount.
Foreign object in patient after surgery. A patient underwent abdominal surgery for diverticulitis. At the conclusion of the surgery, though the nurses documented that all surgical objects were accounted for, a foreign object was left in the patient's body. Due to the foreign object, the patient required additional extensive surgeries and treatment including removal of a significant portion of the intestines. Plaintiffs, the patient and his spouse, filed suit against the hospital, the surgeon, and the State which employed the resident physician who assisted during the initial surgery. The case was mediated and settled for an undisclosed amount.
Negligent colostomy. A patient underwent surgery for drainage of an abdominal abscess and a temporary colostomy was necessary. Post-operatively, the patient's status worsened with severe abdominal pain, vomiting, dehydration, and changes in her serum electrolytes. She also suffered organ failure and required transfer to another facility. It was later discovered that, instead of bringing the intestines out through the skin to form the colostomy, the surgeon brought out the patient's stomach. Thus, the patient was not receiving any nutrition or fluids. The plaintiff underwent additional surgery approximately twenty-one days after the initial procedure to correct the problem. Plaintiff filed suit against her surgeon and the surgeon's practice group. A settlement was reached for an undisclosed amount.
Brain damaged 31-year-old. Plaintiff filed suit for wrongful death on behalf of his deceased wife and individually against a dentist, two hospitals, a nursing home, and two anesthesiologists along with the corporation that employed the anesthesiologists. The deceased wife was a 31-year-old dialysis patient who had begun preparations for kidney transplant surgery. As part of the process, she was referred to a dentist for routine evaluation, and it was later discovered that this dentist had no previous experience caring for renal failure patients. Without performing the proper dental examination, consultation with a periodontist, or communicating with her nephrologist, the dentist informed the patient that all of her teeth would need to be removed. The full-mouth extraction was carried out and the patient lost a large amount of blood. Without the physicians understanding fluid management in a dialysis patient, the patient was given an excessive amount of fluid and was discharged home. The following morning she began her dialysis treatment, and shortly thereafter she suffered congestive heart failure and cardiopulmonary arrest due to the excessive amount of fluids she had received at the time of her dental surgery. The patient suffered a severe brain injury and lay in a comatose state for over a month until her death. The case was mediated and settled for an undisclosed amount.
Negligent ventilator setup. Plaintiff, a mother of a minor child, filed suit against a corporation and its employee, a respiratory therapist. The minor child was born prematurely and was discharged home after several months on a ventilator. There were periods of each day when the minor child would breathe without the assistance of the ventilator. After the mother detected an irregularity with the child's primary ventilator machine, the respiratory therapist set up a backup ventilator machine for the child and improperly set the control settings. The following day, the mother was awoken by irregular breath sounds from the ventilator, and she found the trach tube attached to the ventilator had come out of her child's neck. Due to the improper settings, the ventilator alarm did not sound and the child suffered permanent injuries. The case was mediated and settled for an undisclosed amount.
Brainstem stroke. A 74-year-old woman walked into the emergency room with complaints of neck pain and stiffness. During the workup, the emergency room physician ordered an EKG. An EKG technician employed by the hospital applied the EKG leads; however, the arm leads were reversed during their application making the EKG tracings inaccurate. The emergency room physician reviewed the tracings and compared them with the patient's previous EKG tracings. Though the lead reversal was later described as obvious, after review of the tracings the physician believed the patient was having a heart attack and began a blood thinning medication along with thrombolytic therapy. The medication was begun prior to any other physician seeing the tracings and prior to cardiac lab work being performed. Shortly after the medication was begun, the patient began complaining of a headache, having neurological difficulties, and required life support. As a result of the unnecessary medication, the patient suffered a brainstem stroke and died approximately four months later. One physician who testified in this case felt the problem that brought the patient to the emergency room was musculoskeletal in origin, such as a "crick" in her neck. Suit was filed for wrongful death by the surviving children against the hospital and the emergency room physician, and the case was settled for an undisclosed amount.
Missed diagnosis of pediatric asplenia. Plaintiff filed suit against a pediatrician and a hospital for the wrongful death of her child. The child was born without a spleen (asplenia), a condition that was not apparent at birth but made the child more susceptible to infection. Treatment for this condition includes prophylactic antibiotics to compensate for the impairment to the immune system. The child had frequent infections for the first six months of his life. During a hospitalization for pneumonia, blood work was performed which showed abnormalities consistent with asplenia. Nonetheless, the pediatrician failed to investigate these abnormal findings. This physician continued to treat the child for recurrent infections until the family moved. After their move, a hospital's clinic provided care to the child. At a later time, the child became ill and was seen in the hospital's clinic; however he was released home without a prescription for antibiotics. Lab work obtained in the clinic also revealed the blood work abnormalities. His condition deteriorated and he returned to the clinics where it was discovered he had asplenia. Because the child did not receive appropriate treatment for asplenia, and did not promptly receive antibiotics when he became ill, his infection progressed to cause sepsis and the child died two days later. The case settled for an undisclosed amount.
Failure to prescribe adequate antibiotics to cardiac patient. Suit was filed against a dentist and his practice for wrongful death. The victim was a young single father who died as a result of an infection he acquired from a dental procedure. The patient had previously undergone a heart valve replacement, which made him more susceptible to infection/inflammation of the valves and lining of his heart (endocarditis). This patient's history required the dentist to administer antibiotics around the time of certain dental procedures in order to prevent endocarditis. The dentist did not administer prophylactic antibiotics at the time of two separate dental procedures, and the patient developed endocarditis which led to his death. The case was settled early for an undisclosed amount following the dentist's deposition.
Leg amputation. Patient and his wife filed suit against a hospital for its employees' failure to recognize and promptly treat compartment syndrome in his leg, causing death to the tissue and muscle of the leg. Plaintiff was struck by a vehicle while bike riding and sustained multiple injuries, including a head injury and injury to his leg. He was admitted to the hospital and followed by an attending physician and an orthopedic physician. His knee and ankle wounds were irrigated and sutured and a cast was placed on the plaintiff's leg after an x-ray revealed a fracture. Due to the inability to move his toes, the cast was changed. Over several days, the patient developed symptoms consistent with compartment syndrome of his leg. The family voiced concerns to the doctors and nurses about swelling in the leg, the inability to move his toes and foot, a foul odor coming from the cast, and an elevated temperature. It was later discovered the plaintiff had compartment syndrome in his leg. He underwent several surgeries to the leg and developed sepsis requiring life support. Due to the delay in treatment, a below the knee amputation became necessary. The case was mediated and settled for an undisclosed amount.
Blind child. A minor child with a history of spina bifida, which required previous placement of a device to shunt excess fluid from her brain, began experiencing blurred vision. She was evaluated by an optometrist and referred to the spina bifida clinic of a large medical teaching facility. A letter was also sent to the clinic informing the employees of the clinic that this child suffered from swelling and hemorrhages in her eyes. The child was seen and evaluated in the clinic; however, an eye examination was not performed. A brain scan was performed which showed the presence of hydrocephalus, an abnormal accumulation of fluid on the brain. Nonetheless, the parents were sent home with their child. The neurologist contacted the child's mother to inform her of the brain scan results, and when he was told the child had blurred vision and had been diagnosed with swelling and eye hemorrhages, the neurologist informed her not to worry. Though the mother contacted the clinic on two more occasions regarding the blurred vision, nothing was done. Within a few months thereafter, the child returned to the optometrist because of virtual blindness and was referred to the hospital emergency room. Surgery was performed two days after her admission to revise the brain shunt. Unfortunately, it was too late - the child never regained her sight. The plaintiffs filed suit against the hospital, the clinic, the neurologist, and an employee of the clinic. The case settled for an undisclosed amount.
The factual and legal circumstances of each client's case will affect the results obtained.