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Posts Tagged ‘ patient deaths ’

$7.7M Jury Verdict for Missed Blood Clot in Medical Malpractice Case

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/stuartbur

The family of a 50-year-old woman who died in 2012 from a pulmonary embolism after being treated for a broken leg following a skiing accident will receive a $7.7 million verdict after a Philadelphia jury ruled in their favor in a medical malpractice case in May.

The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the estate of Ingrid Clark, alleged that the doctors who treated Clark’s broken knee bone in March 2012 failed to properly monitor her for a possible embolism after undergoing surgery for the break and immobilizing her leg, according to a June 5 story by The Legal Intelligencer.  The lawsuit was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Brian Durfy, the administrator of Clark’s estate.

Clark underwent surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia for the break and was released after three days, with orders to use a wheelchair and not put weight on the leg for another eight to 12 weeks, according to a plaintiff’s memo cited by the story. Then, in mid-May of 2012, the victim became nauseous and dizzy and passed out, causing her to be taken back to Jefferson Hospital for emergency treatment where she was determined to have a racing heartbeat and shortness of breath, the story reported.

An electrocardiogram (EKG) showed normal results and she was “diagnosed with stomach flu and dehydration, and discharged after about five hours, ” the report continued. “Two weeks later, Clark became dizzy again, but she also began vomiting and experiencing chest pain. Then she collapsed and struggled to breathe. Emergency services were called, but Clark went into cardiac and respiratory arrest and was unable to be resuscitated.”

The cause of Clark’s death was a “massive pulmonary emboli,” according to the plaintiff’s memo.

“Durfy contended that the leg injury and the fact that Clark had been largely immobilized were obvious and should have raised a red flag that she was at risk for pulmonary embolism,” the story reported. “The EKG findings also should have signaled to the doctors that she was at risk for a pulmonary embolism,” according to the plaintiff’s memo.

The woman’s doctors “should have performed additional tests to rule out a pulmonary embolism, including blood tests, chest scans, ultrasound or echocardiogram,” the report continued. “Had those tests been performed and the emboli detected earlier, the condition could have been properly treated,” the plaintiff’s memo said.

In addition to Jefferson Hospital, Dr. Alan Forstater was also named in the lawsuit. Another doctor, David Morley, was dropped from the case before the trial, the story reported.

The jury found Forstater and Jefferson Hospital to be negligent after five hours of deliberations, with each 50 percent liable for the woman’s death, the story continued. Clark, who was also survived by her parents, worked for about 24 years as vice president of community affairs and advocacy for Johnson & Johnson, the story reported.

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 malpractice and 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 similar 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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$6.25M Jury Verdict in Child’s Medical Malpractice Death

A Luzerne County family has been awarded a $6.25 million medical malpractice jury verdict in connection with the 2009 death of their two-year-old daughter following a stomach ailment.

The child, Lauren Marie Readler, died Oct. 26, 2009, after being treated for stomach troubles and released from Harrisburg Hospital months before in July 2009, according to a May 21 story in the (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) Citizens’ Voice newspaper. The child’s parents, Thomas and Lori Readler, filed a lawsuit after the girl’s death against doctors at Pinnacle Health at Harrisburg Hospital, Geisinger Partners in Pediatrics-Nanticoke and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township, where the child died, according to the story.

The plaintiffs alleged that the doctors “failed to diagnose that Lauren’s stomach had gotten twisted and she was sent home without surgery or any specific instructions for her care,” the story reported. “Doctors and medics repeatedly failed to pick up on cues that something was dangerously wrong,” the plaintiff’s argued, the story continued. The child later died of sepsis caused by a ruptured stomach, according to the report.

Legal documents for a lawsuit are pictured with a stethoscope. Image credit © iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

X-rays taken at Carlisle Medical Center in Carlisle on July 28, 2009, where the child was first taken before being transferred later to Harrisburg Hospital, showed the child was suffering from an out of place stomach, which indicated “there was a problem with the ligaments that should hold it in place,” the story said. The problem required surgery to keep it from happening again, but it was not treated, the story reported.

After hearing the testimony in Luzerne County Court in a four-week trial, the jury awarded the deceased child’s family $3.7 million in wrongful death damages, $2.5 million for future loss of earnings and lost earning capacity and $50,000 for mental and physical pain and suffering, the report continued.

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 similar 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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$265,000 Settlement in California Medical Malpractice Case Shows the Tragedy of Arbitrary Mandated Settlement Limits

In March of 2012, the family of a 10-year-old California girl took her to Kaiser Permanente’s Baldwin Park Medical Center because she was suffering from a fever, vomiting and shortness of breath. A day later, after being examined and released by a doctor following a brief examination at the urgent care center, she died.

Now, almost two years after the tragic death of the girl, Daniela Zelig, her family reached a miniscule $265,000 settlement with Kaiser Permanente to end legal proceedings surrounding their daughter’s care, according to a Jan. 14 story in The San Gabriel Valley Tribune newspaper.

Daniela apparently died of undiagnosed pneumonia after the doctor in the urgent care center failed to adequately evaluate her worsening condition, her family’s attorneys told the paper.

A stock image of a lawsuit form, along with a stethoscope on a desk.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

In such a case, a plaintiff could sue for medical malpractice and collect an appropriate award based on the factors in the case, the medical treatment that was or was not performed and the failure of the medical staff to provide accepted and proper medical treatment to a patient in distress.

In this case, however, and in many cases like it, miniscule settlements that do not properly punish errant doctors and medical centers are now reached because of arbitrary, unfair and insensitive laws that limit the amount of damages that patients and their families can collect after they are harmed.

That’s what happened in the case of Daniela’s family.

One of her family’s attorneys told the paper that the girl was one of the very last patients in the urgent care center on the night that her mother took her in for treatment, and that she was given “a very cursory examination. She was basically told she had a viral flu and that they didn’t need to have any antibiotics.”

The attorney “suspects the doctor did not give Zelig the proper examination because of the late hour,” the paper reported. Instead of immediately reacting to the apparent severity of her condition, Daniela “was discharged with a high fever, unstable vital signs and a life-threatening infection,” the attorney told the paper. Her condition worsened overnight and she was taken to an emergency room elsewhere the next morning, where the girl died. The cause of her death was listed as pneumonia, the attorney told the paper.

The tragedy didn’t end there, however. The girl’s family sued Kaiser Permanente over her care but ran up against California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, which sets an arbitrary recovery limit of $250,000 in medical malpractice cases.

“The family fought with Kaiser until December when they finally accepted the settlement agreement” because of the cap, the paper reported.

That’s an outright travesty of justice for this family, and it’s also a sad fact that this kind of arbitrary cap on damages that can be received by a plaintiff in the United States is becoming more common in many states.

The lawyer for the family “called the payout a ‘pittance’ for Kaiser,” The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported. “The family feels as if Kaiser is really not experiencing any true consequence by virtue of what happened to their daughter,” the lawyer said. “To them, it is just the cost of doing business.”

These arbitrary caps have been adopted around the nation by legislators and legislatures who accepted huge political campaign donations from doctors and medical facilities and then unleashed new laws that protect bad doctors and bad medicine at the expense of harming families and patients who receive sub-standard care.

This case is an absolute embarrassment.

What incentive does Kaiser Permanente have to police themselves in future incidents – and there will certainly be future cases like this one again – when the consequence of their sloppy behavior is really meaningless to them?

And what do we as a society say to the family who has lost a child in this kind of case? Here is a mere $265,000 for your incredible loss? OK, go and have a good day?

Most medical care today is delivered by corporations – well-endowed, well-insured corporations. This image of the mom and pop practitioner is a thing of the past.

And in cases like this, with arbitrary medical malpractice recovery limits, these corporations virtually get away scot-free when something goes very wrong with their patient care. They often overwork their medical staffs and these are the consequences. And the result is that patients are getting poor medical care, with limited abilities to sue for adequate damages when all hell breaks loose.

All Americans need to be enraged about such arbitrary medical malpractice recovery limits. We must all call our legislators and other government officials and tell them of our disgust with these kinds of back-door deals that are being made in courthouses across the nation that are hurting victims and their families. Unfair and arbitrary settlement caps are simply bad for victims and their families and futures.

The heartbreaking case involving young Daniela Zelig 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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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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Failed Colon Surgery Results in Woman’s Death and a $19.5 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict

During a routine colonoscopy in 2008, a non-cancerous polyp was found inside the colon of a Bucks County, Pa., woman.

But instead of removing the polyp through a minimally-invasive colonoscopy or an endoscopic procedure, her doctor performed a colon re-section, removing 2.5 feet of her colon and then surgically putting the remainder back together, according to a recent story in The Legal Intelligencer.

The problem, though, occurred when the more-invasive surgical re-section failed and leaked her fecal matter into her bloodstream and body, leading to a septic infection that kept the woman in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for 305 days, the story said.

Eleven days after her failed first surgery, Mariann Pomroy required a second surgery and was fitted with a colostomy bag. But her medical problems still were far from over.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/djgunner

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/djgunner

“When Pomroy was finally released home, she was confined to a hospital bed, dependent upon oxygen and needed kidney dialysis,” reported The Legal Intelligencer. Three hundred and sixty-four days later, on Aug. 12, 2010, Pomroy died, the victim of a medical malpractice tragedy.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way.

The procedure was supposed to be a routine removal of a non-cancerous, abnormal growth of tissue.

Instead, Pomroy, who had undergone four previous abdominal surgeries, suffered severe complications that contributed to her eventual death. She was 57 when she died.

The two sides disagreed in court about how a decision was reached regarding the procedure she would eventually undergo.

Her surgeon, Dr. Ernest F. Rosato, “said that he recommended a colonoscopy to Pomroy but she opted for the surgery out of fear of having perforations,” according to the story. ” However, Pomroy’s husband [George], who attended the appointment with her, said that the advice was for Pomroy to have a colon resection, and he brought up if there was an easier way to remove the polyp.”

After her death, Pomroy’s family sued the doctor and the hospital, alleging serious medical errors were made in providing her care.

On Feb. 26, a Philadelphia jury awarded her family $19.5 million in damages by an 11-1 verdict, reported The Legal Intelligencer. The verdict included $10.5 million in wrongful death damages and $9 million in survival damages.

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 overzealous, 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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Medical Malpractice: Death of 17-Year-Old Girl After Tonsillectomy Highlights Dangers of Surgical Procedures

It was to be a routine tonsillectomy, just like most of the more than half-million such procedures done each year in the United States.

But something went very wrong following 17-year-old Mariah Edwards’ surgery on March 20, 2012 at the Abington Surgery Center in Montgomery County, according to a recent story in The Legal Intelligencer.

The teen was apparently left unmonitored in a recovery room following her tonsillectomy, and she went into respiratory distress which was not immediately noticed by the medical staff, the report stated.

Tragically, Mariah Edwards died 15 days after the surgical procedure.

“The case highlighted that there may be more risk for surgical patients in the recovery room than there is during the surgery itself,” her family’s attorney told The Legal Intelligencer.

A surgical team is in the midst of a medical procedure in this stock photo. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/uchar

The teen was given a pain medication after the procedure which depressed her respiratory system, according to the story, and she was left alone for some 20 minutes while medical workers were with another patient. During that time, she “went into respiratory distress and suffered a brain injury that ultimately led to her death,” her attorney told the Intelligencer.

It was later learned “that the monitor placed on Edwards was either not properly set or muted so the nurse could not hear warnings of Edwards’ respiratory distress,” the story reported.

The teen’s family received a $6 million settlement in the medical malpractice case this past December, and several policies and medical procedures were changed at the surgical center to prevent a similar outcome from every happening again, the story reported. Nurses must be present and remain with each patient who comes out of surgery into a recovery room after receiving pain medicines, and patient monitors can no longer be muted by medical staff members, according to the Intelligencer. In addition, “nurses must have clear lines of sight so they can see their patients at all times,” said the report.

Tonsillectomies, in which the tonsils are removed from the back of a patient’s throat, are one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States, with more than 530,000 procedures performed annually in children younger than 15 years, according to a 2011 clinical practice guideline report by the University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio.

And usually, it is a very safe procedure, according to a 2010 post on the ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) Blog, maintained by Fauquier Ear Nose & Throat Consultants of Virginia.

“Medical literature places the mortality rate from tonsillectomy between one in 15,000 and one in 35,000 procedures (0.03% – 0.06%), mostly from anesthesia complications, airway loss, and blood loss,” according to the blog post. That means that about 30 deaths occur per year from the procedure. “As such, tonsillectomy should ONLY be performed if they are truly causing a significant health problem such as obstructive sleep apnea or recurrent tonsillar infections and NOT just because ‘they are big.’”

A similar case occurred in Palm Harbor, Fla., in 2010 when a 12-year-old girl died after a tonsillectomy and her family filed a lawsuit alleging medical mistakes in her treatment.

These tragic cases are somber reminders 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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