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This week, a Baltimore City, Maryland jury in a medical malpractice lawsuit awarded $10 million to the estate and surviving family members of a pastor who died after treatment for liver and kidney problems at a Baltimore City hospital.  The sixty-three year-old man presented to the hospital for dialysis and treatment of rhabdomysolysis, a condition that is caused by the death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream which often causes kidney failure.  During his admission to the hospital, the man experienced heart problems as the result of elevated potassium levels causing his physician to administer the medication “Kayexalate.”

The lawsuit alleged that the Kayexalate resulted in irreversible colon damage and that the physician who prescribed it was unaware of the risks of that medication.  The defense took the position it was the man’s comorbidities – including his underlying kidney and liver problems – that caused his death, not the administration of the medication.

Unfortunately for the family, the significant $10 million award handed down by the Baltimore City jury will be reduced to just over $900,000 under Maryland State Law that caps recovery for non-economic damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress.  If you or a loved one were the victim of a medical mistake, call our experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyers for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.

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In late May of 2012, a 75 year-old woman presented to the hospital with a deep vein thrombosis blood clot in her leg.  She was treated and discharged days later with instructions to take blood thinners.  Less than a week after she was discharged, she awoke in the middle of the night with excruciating pain in the hip and groin area.  She was taken via ambulance to the hospital where she came under the care of two separate physicians over a period of ten hours during which time no diagnostic tests were ordered or performed.  She subsequently was discharged to a nursing home with a diagnosis of musculoskeletal pain which the physicians had attributed to the woman’s deep vein thrombosis blood clot a week earlier.

A day later, the nursing home staff found the woman to be in hemorrhagic shock.  She was rushed back to the emergency room but ultimately died six weeks later.  The lawsuit alleged that the Defendant physicians failed to timely diagnose and treat what turned out to be a retroperitoneal hematoma, which is an accumulation of blood in the portion of the abdomen called the retroperitoneal space.

After a six-day trial and nine hours of deliberation, the jury awarded the plaintiffs a total of $547,510 which included $8,900 in funeral expenses, $127,000 to her husband for loss of consortium, $125,000 to her estate for her conscious pain and suffer prior to her death, $125,000 to the husband for his pain and suffering as the result of the loss of his wife, and $30,000 to each of her five adult children for the loss of their mother.

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A Texas jury has awarded $10 million to the surviving family members of an infant who suffered catastrophic injury during birth ultimately bringing her short life to an end.  During the two week trial, evidence was presented that during the delivery, the Defendant-Obstetrician repeatedly applied forceps which are instruments shaped like a pair of salad spoons to the baby’s head to try help guide the baby out of the birth canal.  It was only after a fourth attempt with forceps failed to free the infant that the obstetrician decided to convert to a cesarean delivery.

Unfortunately, it was too late.  After the infant was born, it was determined that she had suffered intracranial ischemic injuries meaning that there were period of time when the blood flow to the brain leading to poor oxygen supply.  Subsequent radiology studies also revealed a skull fracture.  Less than a week after she was born, the infant was taken off life support and passed away shortly thereafter.  The jury’s award subsequently was reduced to $750,000 pursuant to the cap on non-economic damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress.

Our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys have extensive experience litigating birth injury malpractice cases.  If you or a loved one were the victim of a similar, or any other medical mistake, call to speak with one of our attorneys today at 410-385-2225.

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This week, a jury hearing a medical malpractice case in Dallas awarded $19.7 million to the family of a woman who suffered catastrophic and ultimately fatal brain damage as the result of her healthcare providers’ negligence.  In 2013 the woman presented to a local hospital with a chief complaint of leg numbness.  Shortly thereafter she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system.  It can diminish the ability of muscles to function which ultimately can lead to serious breathing problems.  Still, GBS usually resolves and patients can experience a full recovery once their symptoms have passed.

The patient in this case began to experience breathing problems and so she was provided a breathing tube through her mouth.  Eventually, this was changed to a tracheostomy tube through a hole in the patient’s neck.  Although she was unable to speak due to the tracheostomy, she was awake, alert and functioning.  Unfortunately, her physicians failed to realize that the way in which the trachea was inserted had caused a leak, resulting in the woman receiving less than half of the air that was intended.  The next morning, the tube became dislodged and the woman’s oxygen supply was cut off completely for more than a half hour.

As a result, the woman spent the next eighteen months in a vegetative state, being cared for by nursing home staff with her husband visiting her when he was not busy taking care of the couple’s two young children.  Thereafter the woman passed away.  The trial lasted two weeks and the jury’s award came after just three hours of deliberations.

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At the conclusion of a recent medical malpractice trial, the jury awarded $8.5 million to an 8 year-old boy who suffered a catastrophic neurological injury while a patient at a pediatric nursing home. The boy was a twin and, while in utero, the two brothers suffered from “twin-twin transfusion syndrome” in which blood passes unevenly between the fetuses while in the placenta. The brother did not survive but the patient in this case pulled through, albeit with negligible neurological deficits.

Because he was born pre-term, he was placed on a ventilator. It was expected that he would be off the ventilator by age 5 and that he would subsequently be able to walk and use his fine motor skills. However, when a nurse at his pediatric care facility entered his room, he was found to be gray in color and unresponsive. It was determined that his tracheotomy tube had come out of its place and that his pulse oximeter – which would have alerted staff to the issue – had come off of his foot and the machine had been turned off. As the result of the incident, the boy suffered a catastrophic anoxic brain injury and will require institutional care for all of his daily needs for the remainder of his life. The principal theory of the defense throughout the litigation was that the dislodging of the tracheotomy tube did not cause or change the boy’s long-term care needs, which in their opinion were caused solely by the injuries he sustained in utero from the twin-twin transfusion syndrome. Just prior to trial, however, the defense conceded liability, resulting in a trial on the issue of damages (compensation) only.

The jury’s award included $100,000 for past pain and suffering, $310,000 for future pain and suffering, more than $60,000 for past medical and $8 million to cover future medical expenses for the child’s life-long need of care. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White have successfully resolved a number of medical malpractice cases involving devastating brain injury. If you or a loved one was the victim of a similar, or any other medical mistake, call us today at 410-382-5698.

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A Chicago jury has awarded $3.3 million to the family of a man who died less than two weeks after a pharmacy error resulted in him being administered ten times the appropriate dose of the medication that he was supposed to receive. The patient, who was 55 years old at the time, presented for treatment of an infection that he was suffering from as the result of having received a bone marrow transplant to treat his cancer. As part of the treatment for the infection, doctors ordered him to receive 2,400 milligrams of the antiviral medical known as Foscarnet, a drug usually used with patients who have compromised immune systems.

Instead of receiving the prescribed 2,400 milligrams, the patient accidentally was administered 24,000 milligrams in a single hour. Immediately upon administration of the toxic levels of this drug, the patient began to feel numb, got cold and tried to vomit. In the days thereafter, his kidneys began to fail. He was placed on kidney dialysis for 12 days but eventually passed away. The defendants eventually admitted to making the error and defended the case on the theory that due to his comorbidities, the error was not what actually caused his death.

The jury rejected that theory, awarding $2 million to the man’s estate for the conscious pain, suffering and emotional distress that he experienced between the time of the mistake and the time of his death. The jury also awarded $1 million to his wife for her pain and suffering and $300,000 in economic damages suffered by the family as the result of his passing. If you or a loved one may have been the victim of a medical mistake, call us today for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.

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A bench trial in which the judge – and not a jury – decides the case, recently resulted in a $4.25 million verdict to a man whose undiagnosed condition left him paralyzed. The man presented to a local clinic after being injured at work. At that time, healthcare professionals administered a shot, issued him a prescription for pain medication and authorized him to return to work. Shortly thereafter, his pain worsened to the point that he could hardly walk. He went back to the clinic where he was issued another prescription for pain medication and sent back to work.

He subsequently presented to the emergency room where it was determined that he was suffering from Cauda Equina Syndrome, a surgical emergency in which something is compressing the spinal nerve roots. If not treated immediately, the condition can lead to incontinence and paralysis. The man now is permanently paralyzed. The lawsuit alleged that the healthcare providers at the clinic failed to order the testing that was warranted by the man’s symptoms, which would have resulted in an earlier diagnosis and avoidance of paralysis. The man’s wife has now become her husband’s primary caretaker. The judge’s verdict included $450,000 to the man’s wife for loss of consortium.

The most common defense to a case such as this one is that diagnosing the condition sooner would not have changed the outcome and that therefore, the delay was not a cause of the victim’s injuries. It takes experienced medical malpractice lawyers with the right experts to combat this type of argument at trial. If you or a loved one were the victim of a medical mistake, you can speak with one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys for free at 410-385-2225.

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An Idaho jury has awarded $3.85 million to a married couple after the wife suffered a catastrophic brain injury as the result of alleged improper removal of a catheter from her neck. According to the lawsuit, while in the hospital a nurse improperly removed a central venous catheter line which caused the patient to suffer an air embolism and stroke, resulting in irreversible brain damage.

The defendants conceded that the stroke was caused by an air embolism and that the likely reason for the occurrence was the nurse’s failure to position the patient flat on her back while removing the catheter. They defended the case principally on damages, i.e., how much money is appropriate to compensate her and her husband for their losses.

The jury’s award included almost $100,000 in past medical bills, $178,000 to cover modifications to the home to make it handicap-accessible, $1.4 million for future medical expenses and $1.5 million for past and future pain, suffering, disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life. The jury also awarded $350,000 to the couple for loss of consortium.

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The majority of medical malpractice cases are litigated in the State Court where the malpractice is alleged to have occurred. When the healthcare facility where the malpractice allegedly occurred receives federal funding, the lawsuit usually is filed in Federal Court where it is defended by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. That is what occurred in recent case that resulted in a $9 million award to the surviving family members of a 40 year old mother of six who lost her own life and that of her unborn child at a Chicago hospital.

The patient – who was seven months pregnant at the time – presented to the hospital with a chief complaint of shortness of breath. She was diagnosed with pneumonia but kept in a regular room instead of being transferred to the intensive care unit and without being given any substantive treatment, according to the lawsuit. When her condition worsened, nurses tried to contact her doctor by phone but were no successful. The suit alleged that instead of transferring her, the nurses did nothing. Approximately one hour after the nurses’ last call to the doctor, the patient was found unresponsive and could not be revived. Upon an emergency cesarean-section, the child was delivered still-born. At trial, the nurses and doctor each pointed the finger at the others.

The Maryland medical malpractice attorneys at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White have successfully handled a number of medical negligence cases in the Federal Court system. Because some of the substantive and procedural rules are different in Federal Court than in garden-variety State Court cases, it is important to choose a malpractice attorney with experience trying such cases. If you or a loved one may have been the victim of a medical mistake, call us today at 410-385-2225.

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A Missouri jury has awarded $2.6 million in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages to a husband and wife after the husband became severely addicted to opioid pain medications. According to the lawsuit, the man had gone to see his primary care physician for back pain and immediately was prescribed highly addictive pain medication. At trial, evidence was presented that the man was prescribed more than 37,000 opioid pain pills – including OxyContin, Vicodin and Oxycodone – between 2008 and 2012 and that the dosages being prescribed were well above the levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The man’s life was turned upside down by his addiction. He ended up checking in to a drug rehabilitation facility, his wife filed for divorce and his relationship with his daughter was severely damaged. His lawyers framed the case as the start to a movement in the United States to curb an “opioid addiction epidemic” and save lives stating that this problem starts with the doctors who are too quick to prescribe such powerful medications, not with the patients.

The medical malpractice attorneys at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White have decades of experience successfully pursuing complex medical malpractice cases. If you or a loved one were the victim of a medical mistake, call us today at 410-385-2225.