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Posts Tagged ‘ patient deaths ’

$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 campaig