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$1.1 Million Verdict for Amputation Victim in Cancer Med Mal Case

After multiple and unsuccessful treatments by her doctor from 2007 to 2008 for a plantar ulcer on her foot, an elderly Philadelphia woman soon consulted with another doctor who diagnosed cancer which required partial amputation of her foot.

She later took the original doctor to court, alleging that he failed to diagnose her condition in a timely manner and didn’t perform a biopsy which would have revealed the cancerous growth in her foot. The victim, Margaret Wilson, recently won her case before a Philadelphia jury which awarded her a $1.1 million verdict for her injuries, according to a March 18 story in The Legal Intelligencer.

Wilson first went to her physician, Dr. Peter L. King, of Mercy Hospital in Philadelphia complaining of a plantar ulcer on her left foot, according to the story. “Wilson, who was in her 70’s at the time, treated numerous times with King over the next 10 months” with bone scans, antibiotics, wound cultures and other procedures, the story reported. “She was also treated at the Mercy Hospital Wound Center. In her pretrial memo, Wilson contended that the ulcer continued to grow during the treatments.”

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/uchar

By July of 2008, the ulcer was found to be necrotic, meaning the skin and tissue around it were now dead and infected, the story reported. She saw another doctor at the hospital over the next six months, but the victim continued to suffer swelling, wound warmth and lower extremity pain. She also underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy for treatment of her wound, the story reported.

By Nov. 24, 2008, however, a pathology report following a biopsy found that Wilson was suffering from verrucous carcinoma, a type of squamous cell carcinoma, the story reported. She then went to another doctor the following month at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Dermatology and underwent another biopsy in January 2009, which turned up “well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma,” the story stated. Following that diagnosis, Wilson lost part of her foot to an amputation to remove the cancerous tissue.

Wilson sued King and the second doctor she saw at Mercy Hospital, as well as the hospital, the Mercy Health System and the Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at Mercy Health Center, according to The Legal Intelligencer story. She “alleged that the doctors failed to timely diagnose her ulcer, perform a biopsy or refer her to another physician who would perform a biopsy,” according to the case. “Wilson contended that the allegedly delayed diagnosis led to invasive and metastatic skin cancer. She further contended that her life expectancy had lowered, and that she had an increased chance of reoccurrence. She also contended that she continued to have wound infection, abscesses and osteomyelitis, and will require future operations, including a metatarsectomy,” which is the removal of a foot bone.

The jury awarded Wilson $350,000 in past medical expenses and $750,000 in non-economic damages, following a seven-day trial. The second doctor that she saw at Mercy Hospital, Dr. Robert J. Wiemer, settled with the plaintiff for a confidential sum while the trial was underway.

These kinds of cases are a somber reminder that patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a medical malpractice, birth injury or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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Philadelphia Family Receives $42.9 Million Medical Malpractice Award for Premature Birth

A jury has awarded a Philadelphia family a $42.9 million medical malpractice award after their son was born prematurely and suffered from a multitude of complications after his birth in July 2007.

The family sued the doctors and hospital where their son was born, alleging that the “complications suffered by their child due to extreme premature birth were the result of negligence” on the part of the doctors who treated the mother and the baby, according to a Dec. 24 story in The Legal Intelligencer.

The parents, Ebony Harris and Roy Fortson, filed the lawsuit on behalf of their son, Phinees Fortson, who was born July 5, 2007 after being in his mother’s womb for about 25 weeks, compared to a normal gestation of 38 to 42 weeks.

An ultrasound image of the baby and a cardiogram of the baby's heartbeat are shown in this stock photo. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/liseykina

“According to the plaintiffs’ court papers, doctors treating the child’s mother failed to admit her to the hospital in a timely fashion and failed to administer IV steroids that would have protected her baby’s brain and respiratory development,” the story reported. The child suffered “multiple physical and cognitive impairments” due to the premature birth and from the inadequate care he and the mother were given by the doctors, according to the story.

The jury’s award in the case, which was heard in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, will cover the boy’s future medical expenses for a variety of related conditions, including mental retardation, blindness, spastic quadriparesis, quadriparesis cerebral palsy, gastroesophageal reflux and a complex feeding disorder, the story reported.

The family had filed suit against Dr. Doris Chou, Dr. Kwandaa Roberts, Chestnut Hill Hospital and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Chou, who was an employee of HUP when she saw Harris in Chestnut Hill Hospital’s department of maternal fetal medicine, was found 100 percent negligent in the case by the jury, according to the report. Roberts was found not to be negligent.

Harris had been examined in March 2007 at Chestnut Hill Hospital while she was pregnant with the baby and had undergone ultrasound examinations and pregnancy management in the facility.

About four months later, on July 2, 2007, she returned to the hospital with complaints of pelvic pressure and was seen by Chou, who noted that the patient’s cervix had shortened to 1.13 centimeters. “During that ultrasound examination, Chou discovered an ‘excessive accumulation’ of amniotic fluid within the amniotic sac causing uterine distention, according to the plaintiffs’ papers, creating a high risk for pre-term birth,” The Legal Intelligencer reported.

She was then monitored by Roberts for almost four hours and was then discharged to return home on pelvic rest and modified bed rest, the story stated. Two days later, late in the evening of July 4, 2007, Harris called her doctor to report frequent contractions, according to the story. The baby was born a day later through an emergency C-section, and after his birth, he was diagnosed with seizures and a brain hemorrhage, the story continued. “According to Chou and HUP’s defense papers, there was no finding in Chou’s July 2 examination of Harris that delivery was imminent.”

This case is an example of the kinds of medical malpractice and birth injury cases that occur regularly across the United States to families in every walk of life when doctors don’t take every step to protect and monitor their patients through difficult and life-threatening procedures.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer deal with these kinds of cases regularly and we stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a birth injury case anywhere in the United States. We pledge to make sure that your child gets the proper medical care needed to maximize the child’s potential from that point forward. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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Doctor’s Delay in Medical Treatment After Victim’s Auto Accident Leads to $2.85 Million Award by Jury

After being severely injured in an automobile accident on April 17, 2004, victim Randy Green of Marion, S.C., was rushed to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, where he was to be prepped for surgery to repair severed arteries in his forearm.

But instead of being taken to surgery to stop the serious arterial bleeding, Green was instead sent by a surgeon to receive a CAT scan of his knee, which was also hurt in the crash. That move caused a 30-minute delay before the arterial wounds could be treated, resulting in Green going into cardiac and respiratory arrest, and eventually causing permanent paralysis below his waist, according to a Sept. 17 story in The (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) Sun News.

The jury in the case awarded $2.3 million to Green and another $550,000 to his wife, Ann, for his injuries and continuing care, according to the story.  The couple also reached a separate settlement agreement with the hospital, but the terms of that agreement were sealed.

A South Carolina man suffered permanent paralysis from the waist down after a doctor's medical error. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/uchar

Green’s doctor in the emergency room, surgeon Wayne Bauerle, “negligently ordered Green to be taken from a hospital’s pre-operative holding area for a CAT scan, even though Green’s vital signs were unstable at the time,” according to the jury’s ruling, the paper reported. Instead of immediately performing surgery on the bleeding arteries in Green’s arm, the CAT scan delay allowed the victim to go into arrest, the story reported.

“Although Green was resuscitated by an emergency room doctor and an anesthesiologist, the delay led to the death of a portion of Green’s spinal cord and his permanent paralysis from just above the waist down,” according to The Sun News report. The victim’s blood pressure when he was sent for the CAT scan was 72 over 56, which is considered dangerously low by experts who testified at the trial, the paper reported. The delay, coupled with the victim’s low blood pressure, was evidence of the doctor’s negligence, according to trial testimony.

The victim’s blood pressure and pulse were zero after the cardiac arrest, and he was “without blood flow to his body for between eight minutes and 27 minutes, depending on various witness accounts and medical records,” the paper reported.

This tragic case is a somber reminder of the kinds of problems that can arise when patients seek medical treatment in doctor’s offices, hospitals and other medical facilities and become innocent victims of inadequate or incorrect procedures.

Patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a medical malpractice or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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Montgomery County Man Awarded $4 Million Verdict After Errant Cyst Surgery

In July of 2009, 29-year-old Jeffrey Hierholzer of Hatboro, Montgomery County, went in to his doctor’s office to have a cyst removed from his neck. Shortly after the surgery, however, he began feeling pain and weakness in his shoulder near the site of the cyst surgery.

In a decision handed down Aug. 22, a Montgomery County jury awarded Hierholzer $4 million in damages for his injuries after he sued the doctor for the errant procedure that left his shoulder permanently weakened, according to a Sept. 3 story in The Legal Intelligencer.

Hierholzer’s physician, Dr. Harris Cohen of Hatboro Medical Associates, had examined the patient and diagnosed the lump on his neck as a cyst, the report stated. Harris later performed an “incision and drainage” procedure to treat the cyst, “but did not perform a complete head and neck evaluation before rendering the diagnosis,” according to a statement by Hierholzer.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/Oxford

When Hierholzer returned to Harris’ office in July 2009 for a follow-up visit after the surgery, the patient again complained of pain to Cohen, according to the story.  “Hierholzer claimed in his pretrial memorandum that for several months after the July 31 follow-up visit, he experienced ‘progressive weakness and loss of normal use of his left shoulder,’ with persistent pain and discomfort felt when performing certain physical activities and sleeping,” the story reported.

Almost a year later, the patient was examined by another doctor in Harris’ office after his left arm continued to suffer weakness and related problems, the story reported. The second doctor “thought there was a possibility that Hierholzer’s left trapezius muscles were atrophied” and sent him to an orthopedic surgeon for follow-up and testing.

A related story from The Bucks County Courier Times reported that “an orthopedic surgeon and later a neurosurgeon determined that the spinal accessory nerve, a major motor nerve coming off the cervical spinal cord, was severed during the cyst removal and couldn’t be repaired, according to court documents.”

A follow-up surgery that attempted to repair the patient’s nerve damage was unsuccessful, according to The Legal Intelligencer. The victim’s lawsuit “alleged that Cohen’s ‘failure to protect and preserve the spinal accessory nerve’ caused a permanent injury, impairing the use of Hierholzer’s left shoulder and significantly limiting his ability to perform his duties as an HVAC mechanic,” the story reported.

After hearing the testimony in the case, the jury awarded Hierholzer $1 million for past pain and suffering and $3 million for future pain and suffering, according to the report.

This tragic case is a somber reminder of the kinds of problems that can arise when patients seek medical treatment in doctor’s offices, hospitals and other medical facilities and become innocent victims of inadequate or incorrect procedures.

Patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a medical malpractice or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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$1 Million Settlement in Death of Man After Hip Replacement Surgery

The family of a suburban Harrisburg man has received a $1 million settlement after the 56-year-old Hampden Township man died a few weeks after undergoing hip replacement surgery in 2008.

The settlement ends a multi-year malpractice claim filed by Charlotte Ann March, whose husband, Richard, died due to complications after the surgery, according to a July 16 story by The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News. The lawsuit had been filed against Harrisburg Hospital and Pinnacle Health System, as well as Dr. Stuart B. Pink, a cardiologist who treated the patient following the hip replacement surgery, the paper reported.

About three weeks after the surgery in April 2008, Richard March “returned to the hospital complaining of shortness of breath, weakness and other symptoms,” the story reported. “Charlotte March claimed her husband died due to a blood clot three days after being admitted to the hospital, because Pink misdiagnosed his symptoms and he didn’t receive appropriate medical treatment.”

A doctor reviews a hip replacement X-ray for a patient in this stock photo. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/Spotmatik

The defendants denied the allegations, with Pink arguing that his diagnosis was “based on the information available to him at the time,” the story stated.

Pink claimed that the criticism involving his care of March “was based on an unfair retrospective analysis of the events years after the treatment was rendered,” the paper reported.

Hip replacement surgery is a fairly common procedure nowadays. Also called “total hip arthroplasty,” the procedure involves removing a diseased hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis, according to the Mayo Clinic. “Hip prostheses consist of a ball component, made of metal or ceramic, and a socket, which has an insert or liner made of plastic, ceramic or metal. The implants used in hip replacement are biocompatible — meaning they’re designed to be accepted by your body — and they’re made to resist corrosion, degradation and wear.”

Artificial hips are typically implanted surgically in people who have hip joint damage from arthritis or an injury, according to the Mayo Clinic. “Followed by rehabilitation, hip replacement can relieve pain and restore range of motion and function of your hip joint.”

But there can be risks to such surgical procedures, including blood clots, which can form in leg veins as a result of decreased leg movement after surgery, as well as from pressure on the veins during surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic. Infections can also occur at the incision sites which can cause complications.

Other complications that can arise include breathing problems after surgery, as well as heart attacks or a stroke during or after surgery, according to Medline Plus, a service of The National Institutes of Health.  Knee infection or infections in the lungs (pneumonia) or urinary tract are also possible.

To lower the risk of post-surgical blood clots, patients often receive blood thinners before and after surgery and may wear compression stocking on their legs after surgery to improve blood flow, according to Medline Plus.

This tragic case is a somber reminder of the kinds of problems that can arise when patients seek medical treatment in hospitals and other medical facilities and become innocent victims of inadequate or incorrect procedures.

Patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a medical malpractice or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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Berks County Jury Awards $1.7 Million Verdict to Family of Infant Who Died After A Medical Misdiagnosis

When the family of a three-month-old girl brought her into the emergency room of Reading Hospital and Medical Center in Reading, Berks County, on Dec. 16, 2007, the baby was suffering from a 103-degree fever.

The infant, Emma Takacs, was seen by a doctor who diagnosed her with a middle-ear infection, prescribed an antibiotic and discharged her, according to a June 25 story in The Legal Intelligencer.

The next morning, the baby was found to be “pale, cool to the touch and lethargic” and was rushed to her pediatrician’s office and then transferred to Lehigh Valley Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis, hypoxic brain injury and hydrocephalus, according to the story. Some 21 months later, on Sept. 15, 2009, the baby “died of respiratory complications related to the infection.”

A Berks County jury awarded a $1.7 million verdict to the parents of an infant who died after her illness was misdiagnosed by a physician. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/stuartbur

On June 14, following a week-long trial, a Berks County jury ruled in favor of the infant’s parents in a medical malpractice case against the original emergency room physician, Dr. Duane D. Siberski, and Reading Hospital. The surviving family was awarded $1.7 million in damages in the case, according to the Intelligencer.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord, according to the Meningitis Research Foundation. “Pneumococcal meningitis occurs when the bacteria that have invaded the bloodstream move across to infect the ‘meninges’ (the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord).” A hypoxic brain injury occurs when a patient’s brain does not get enough oxygen. And hydrocephalus is a condition where a patient suffers from an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The 10-2 jury verdict sided with the family’s claims that the doctor “failed to diagnose a bacterial meningitis infection” which was making the baby seriously ill, according to the story. The infant’s parents are Anna and Charles Takacs.

“The plaintiffs argued in their memorandum that the applicable standard of care required Siberski to order, at minimum, a blood count and urinalysis to rule out the possibility of bacteremia and meningitis, regardless of the presence of an ear infection,” the story reported. “Those test results would have been abnormal, prompting further blood testing and possibly a lumbar puncture, according to the plaintiffs’ memorandum.”

The plaintiffs also argued that Siberski erred by not scheduling a follow-up visit within 24 to 48 hours of the first emergency room visit when he treated the baby, the story stated. Instead, the doctor had “discharged Takacs with the instruction that her parents bring her back for a follow-up ”as needed,’” which did not meet the standard of care he should have maintained, the story said.

“Dr. Danny Benjamin, the plaintiffs’ infectious diseases expert, opined that had Siberski complied with the standard of care, Takacs would have been diagnosed and treated for an infection before a catastrophic brain injury occurred, according to the plaintiffs’ memorandum,” reported the Intelligencer.

The jury awarded the family $860,000 for their infant daughter’s future lost earnings and $860,000 for her pain and suffering, the report stated.

This tragic case is a somber reminder of the kinds of problems that can arise when patients seek medical treatment in hospitals and other medical facilities and become innocent victims of inadequate or incorrect procedures.

Patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a medical malpractice or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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