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Late last month, a Georgia jury awarded $30.5 million to the family of a child who suffered a catastrophic brain injury while being delivered.  The child’s mother presented to her OB-GYN for a regularly-scheduled visit at 35 weeks, where a non-stress test was performed and found to be non-reactive.  A few days after that scheduled visit, the mother returned for an unscheduled visit with a chief complaint of reduced or absent fetal movement.  A second non-stress test was again non-reactive and an ultrasound demonstrated possibility of reversal end diastolic blood flow, a severe condition that results from an increase in resistance to blood flow within the placenta.

The family’s attorneys contended that under the standard of acceptable medical care, this finding required an immediate delivery of the baby.  Instead, the physician who was treating the mother sent her to the hospital for continued monitoring and for a consultation with a maternal fetal medicine doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies.  Due to a miscommunication, however, the consult with the specialist did not occur for an additional three hours.  The baby was ultimately delivered by emergency cesarean section due to terminal bradycardia (significantly decreased heart rate).  She suffered a severe hypoxic ischemic brain jury which resulted in development of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, developmental delays and a seizure disorder.  The attorneys for the family contended that there were several opportunities to deliver the distressed baby but those opportunities were missed by the treating physicians.

At Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White, our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers have decades of experience successfully litigating birth injury cases.  If you or a loved one suffered this, or any other type of medical mistake, call us today for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.

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Last year, a judge in an Ohio medical malpractice case awarded $24.9 million to a child born with cerebral palsy and to his parents.  According to the lawsuit, the boy, born in 2010, suffered a deprivation of oxygen during his birth.  The family alleged that the signs and symptoms of fetal distress were not recognized or acted upon in a timely fashion, despite the use of a fetal heart monitor.  The lack of oxygen resulted in a severe and irreversible brain injury that caused developmental delays and inability to function as a normal child.

The evidence demonstrated that the boy will require assistance with personal care for bathing, dressing, positioning, hair and mouth care throughout his life and that it is likely that he will require round-the-clock care due to his communication and functional mobility impairments.  The award – made by a judge because it was a bench trial – included $24.9 million for future care, $2.9 million for lost earning capacity, and $500,000 to each of the boy’s parents for their emotional pain and suffering.

The Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White have decades of successful experience litigating birth injury cases.  If you or a loved one have suffered this, or any other type of injury that may have been caused by a medical mistake, calls us today for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.

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A Pennsylvania jury this month awarded $12.7 million to a woman who suffered brain damage after her physicians prematurely removed her breathing tube at the conclusion of a routine tonsillectomy.  At the time of the procedure, the woman was a 33 year-old special education teacher.  The crux of the allegation was that the surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist did not properly evaluate whether the anesthesia had worn off enough for her breathing tube to safely be removed.  After the breathing tube was removed, it was alleged that the health care providers did not monitor the woman’s oxygen levels for sixteen minutes and when they finally did, it showed an oxygen lever of 81 percent, which her lawyers described as “dangerously low.”  She was re-intubated but was unresponsive and exhibiting seizure-like involuntary limb movements.

The defendants’ position was that the woman did not suffer an anoxic brain injury but instead had an abnormal reaction to the anesthesia, which could not have been foreseen.  They also argued that the woman’s symptoms were the result of a psychological conversion disorder, in support of which they pointed to her history of depression.

The jury found the anesthesiologist to be 70% responsible and the nurse to be 30% responsible.  The jury assigned no liability to the surgeon who performed the tonsillectomy.  While her short-term cognitive issues have mostly resolved, the woman continues to suffer from significant physical impairments including a foot drag and the inability to lift her right leg.  The jury’s award included $5.85 million for past and future lost wages and past and future pain and suffering.  The remainder of the verdict was for her medical care for the rest of her life expectancy.

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After a five week trial, a Connecticut woman has been awarded $25 million to a woman whose leg was caused to be amputated due to negligent treatment of a blood clot.  In November of 2009, the young and athletic woman sought treatment at a local hospital for an asthma attack.  While at the hospital, the physicians voiced concern regarding the woman’s additional complaints of numbness and pain in her left leg.  Diagnostic testing revealed a blood clot however because the hospital that the woman had presented to was a small, community hospital, there was no vascular surgeon on duty.

When the on-call vascular surgeon was consulted by phone, he ordered another test and then ultimately ordered that she be sent home with instructions to follow up with him in person in three days.  After she was released, her condition worsened and she ultimately ended up requiring the amputation of a portion of her leg.

In addition to suing the vascular surgeon who was consulted, the woman also named the hospital emergency room doctors as defendants.  Those doctors, who are considered generalists, pointed the finger at the vascular surgeon claiming he was the one with the expertise regarding how to treat this condition.  The jury found that the vascular surgeon was sixty percent responsible and that the emergency room physicians and hospital were forty percent responsible.

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Earlier this month, a Baltimore County, Maryland jury awarded $4 million as the result of the alleged wrongful death of a 28 year-old man whose heart disease went undiagnosed.  The man was referred by his primary care physician to a cardiologist due to constant chest pain that had been ongoing for more than a year.  The cardiologist in March of 2012 diagnosed him with “atypical chest pain” and sent him on his way without conducting any further studies, according to the lawsuit.

The family alleged that the standard of acceptable medical care required that when the man presented with chest pain, a standard stress test be administered to evaluate for cardiovascular disease.  He returned in April for an echocardiogram and at that time still was experiencing ongoing chest pain.  The man died of a heart attack in July.  A subsequent autopsy concluded that the cause of death was cardiovascular disease.

The jury’s award included $3.75 million for non-economic damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress suffered as the result of the loss of a loved one.  That amount will be reduced to $887,500 under Maryland’s cap on such damages.  The award also included $162,00 for lost household services to the man’s seven year-old child and $9,000 for the cost of his funeral.  If you or a loved one were the victim of a medical mistake, call our experienced medical malpractice lawyers for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.

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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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