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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.

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A Chicago jury has awarded a Cook County record $53 million to a now-12-year-old who suffered a devastating brain injury at birth. The boy’s mother arrived to the hospital approximately 40 weeks in to her pregnancy complaining of decreased fetal movement. The lawsuit alleged that at that time, the hospital failed to, among other things, carefully monitor the mother and unborn child, perform a timely cesarean section, follow a chain of command, obtain accurate cord blood gases and recognize abnormal fetal heart rate patters that should have signaled to the doctors that the baby was in distress and suffering from hypoxia.

The hospital’s position at trial was that the mother’s treatment for an infection prior to the birth caused the child’s cerebral palsy and that the child had been born with normal oxygen levels. The child’s disability is so severe that he cannot bathe or eliminate on his own, cannot feed himself and cannot get up the stairs of their home. The tremendous verdict included $28.8 million for future caretaking expenses and $7.2 million for future medical expenses.

Our experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyers here at STSW have decades of experience pursuing birth trauma and other types of cases. If you or a loved one were the victim of a suspected medical mistake, call us today for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.

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A Kentucky jury has awarded $2.2 million to a married couple after the husband’s pre-operative work-up went awry, resulting in the amputation of his right leg below the knee. In evaluating the man’s candidacy for a total knee replacement, a cardiac work-up showed a possible blockage in his coronary arteries. Accordingly, a coronary angiogram was performed.

A coronary angiogram a procedure that uses x-ray to determine if coronary arteries are blocked or narrowed, where they are blocked or narrowed and by how much. During the procedure, a catheter is inserted in your groin or arm and into an artery and up to the heart. Fluid is injected through the catheter so that arteries can be seen well on the x-ray and then x-ray photographs are taken as the fluid passed through the artery.

Approximately 16 minutes into the procedure it was determined that there was no blockage and that the previous test had yielded a “false positive.” Nevertheless, the procedure was continued for another 74 minutes. After the lengthy coronary angiogram, the man developed blood clots which traveled to his right leg, blocking the flow of blood to that limb and killing the tissue. As a result, the man’s leg was caused to be amputated below the knee. The award included $1.25 million for pain and suffering, $780,000 for medical expenses and $250,000 to the man’s wife for loss of consortium.

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A Montgomery County, Pennsylvania jury has awarded $5 million to the Estate and surviving family members of an 88 year-old man who died after medical professionals improperly placed a feeding to into his lung. The man had been transferred from his assisted living facility to a local hospital at which time a feeding tube was inserted. The man had pulled the feeding tube out and so doctors had to reinsert it the following day. After the feeding tube was reinserted, he was taken for a chest x-ray to confirm proper placement of the tube.

The radiologist on duty, a first-year resident, reviewed the x-ray and read it as normal. After that finding, the patient was fed through the feeding tube for more than twelve hours, filling his lungs with fluid, after which he began exhibiting signs of physical and respiratory distress. The patient’s family alleged that the healthcare providers failed to recognize that the physical distress was the result of the feeding tube having been improperly placed. The Defendants focused much of their case on trying to minimize the amount of damages that the jury should award. In doing so, the Defendants emphasized the man’s age, life expectancy and history of medical issues.

Settlement negotiations before trial had stalled when, in response to a $500,000 demand from the patient’s family, the Defendants made a collective offer of just $200,000. The jury’s verdict included $3.5 million to the patient’s estate for his 12 hours of pain and suffering and $1.5 million to his family members to their loss of a loved one.

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A recent study has found that medical errors are now the third most common cause of death in the United States. The study found that medical mistakes claim approximately 251,000 lives each year – approximately 9.5 percent of all deaths annually – which is more than deaths caused each year by respiratory disease, Alzheimers, strokes and accidents. In fact, the study found that only heart disease (614,348) and cancer (591,699) kill more people each year. Other categories of death which were part of the study included diabetes, flu/pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide.

The Johns Hopkins professor who ran the study pointed out that in the medical community, when mistakes occur, medical professionals desire (and often are able) to keep those mistakes and confidential. Many states, including Maryland, have medical review board statutory privileges which protect from disclosure the results of investigations into medical mistakes and prevent others from the medical community from learning from the mistakes of others, which could otherwise reduce the risk of reoccurrence. The professor explained that this veil of confidentiality stands in stark contrast to how mistakes in the aviation community are dealt with. He said that when planes crash, the reason is not kept confidential but rather is disseminated widely to every pilot and airline so that the pilots learn from the investigations and can prevent similar disasters in the future. Importantly, the study does not take into account all of the people who are injured by medical mistakes, but who did not pass away.

Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys have decades of combined experience pursuing a large variety of medical malpractice cases. If you or a loved one was the victim of a medical mistake, call us today for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.