Dr. Terry Polt was 61 years old when she underwent an embolization procedure to treat her chronic nosebleeds.

An embolization procedure involves the selected occlusion of blood vessels by purposely introducing clots to a blood vessel. Embolization is generally used to treat a wide variety of conditions affecting different organs of the human body. In this case, the attempt was to cure chronic nosebleeds.

After the embolization procedure, Dr. Polt, a family practice physician, suffered an embolic stroke resulting in difficulties with executive function and attention. Dr. Polt was earning $150,000 annually and is now unable to work.
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In 2011, a radiologist with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) missed identifying a cancerous mass in the liver of James Avery Deweese. Before the mass was finally diagnosed as cancerous in 2013, it had nearly doubled in size. Deweese died shortly thereafter.

The family of Deweese — through an administrator of his estate — brought a survival and wrongful-death claim against the United States pursuant to the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA). 28 U.S.C. ¶1346(b)(1).

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the government holding that although the VA failed to deliver the standard of care in correctly diagnosing and treating Deweese’s cancer, the evidence presented by the Deweese family was insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the VA’s negligence proximately caused the plaintiff’s damages and subsequent death.
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A neuropathologist, Dr. Meena Gujrati, and her employer, Central Illinois Pathology, were named as defendants in a medical-malpractice lawsuit brought by Rebecca Gapinski who alleged that this doctor misdiagnosed Daniel Gapinski’s brain tumor as being benign.

Right before the start of the jury trial, Dr. Gujrati requested permission to proceed with a substitution of counsel. The attorneys for the Gapinski family objected, arguing that the motion was tardy because the case had been pending for three years. However, the Gapinski family accepted a compromise, and the trial judge ruled that the defendants could have separate counsel, separate pleadings and separate experts if they were otherwise barred from double-teaming at trial.

The verdict for Gapinski was $1,727,409. On appeal, Dr. Gujrati and Central Illinois Pathology argued, among other things, that the judge erred in barring “dual representation.”
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Nerisa Williams was 43 years old when she underwent a hysterectomy that was completed by her gynecologist, Dr. Kenneth Baker. During the surgery, Dr. Baker unknowingly transected or cut Williams’s ureter. The ureter is made up of two tubes of smooth muscle fibers that propel urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder in an adult. The ureters are paired and described as muscular ducts with narrow openings that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Because of the transection of the ureter, Williams developed permanent urinary incontinence.

She sued Dr. Baker, alleging that his negligent conduct in the surgery led to the need for a second surgery, which caused even more medical complications.
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Annually in the U.S., at least 3.5 million people are treated for traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s neurology section reports that the development of therapies for TBI has been limited by the absence of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. The microtubule-associated protein Tau is an axonal phosphoprotein. Up to now, the presence of the protein in plasma from patients with acute TBI and chronic TBI has not been investigated.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is considered an event and/or a disease. Traumatic brain injuries may lead to chronic functional, neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric deficits. The three classifications of a TBI are measured by severity, which can be mild, moderate or severe.

There were more than 3.5 million emergency department visits for TBI and more than 280,000 patients are hospitalized annually with TBI; most of these are classified as mild TBI. It is presumed that there are many more individuals who have mild TBI, but do not seek medical attention. Between 2000 and 2014, more than 300,000 members of the military sustained TBI during combat and training. Approximately half of the patients with TBI in the U.S. have at least some short-term disability related to that injury or illness. TBI is associated with an increased risk of neurodegenerative disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease, which can occur in individuals years after the injury.
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James Woodard was 64 years old and underwent the first of a two-part elective back surgery at the University of New Mexico Hospital. While Woodard was hospitalized, he was unknowingly exposed to MRSA, an infectious process that is hard to eradicate and usually contracted in hospitals.

One month after the first surgical procedure, Woodard underwent pre-operative procedures at the same hospital in anticipation of the second portion of his back surgery. After his second surgery, a nasal swab was positive for MRSA. Blood cultures returned two weeks later confirmed this finding. Woodard developed spinal osteomyelitis, a bone infection, and had numerous treatments, including surgeries, antibiotics and debridement to try remove the infection. Woodard required 135 days of hospital care and treatment at a rehabilitation facility.

He still requires medical care and now requires a wheelchair because of his condition. Woodard had been a city employee who planned to retire in just a few years.
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On July 25, 2017, Kreisman Law Office’s Robert Kreisman was one of the principal speakers at the Professional Negligence Section’s full-day session. Mr. Kreisman was one of several speakers on the topic of maternal deaths and the causes related to medical malpractice. The seminar was part of the American Association for Justice‘s (AAJ) annual convention that was held in Boston, July 22-26, 2017. Robert Kreisman is the immediate past chair of the Professional Negligence Section of AAJ.

Mr. Kreisman has often been a speaker at both annual and mid-year meetings of AAJ. In addition, Mr. Kreisman has been a faculty member for many professional negligence seminars sponsored by AAJ over many years. Several years ago, he was honored with the “diplomat” status for his participation as a speaker and teacher of trial technique and strategies with the organization.

At the July 25, 2017 program, Mr. Kreisman spoke on the subject of proving cause in maternal deaths due to influenza. It is unfortunate that the United States statistically has a dismal record in maternal deaths. In fact, the number of maternal deaths in the U.S. has been rising alarmingly over the last decade.
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Mary and Terry Cohan filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Medical Imaging Consultants claiming that the company and its medical providers were negligent in the treatment that caused Mary’s breast cancer to progress undiagnosed for one year. It was alleged that the delay in diagnosis led to her suffering damages from a shortened life expectancy and physical and mental suffering.

The medical defendants moved for a directed verdict at the end of the Cohan case at the jury trial on the basis that plaintiffs failed to make a prima facie case of causation and damages against the defendant. The elements of a medical negligence claim, like all negligence claims are: duty, breach of duty, causation and damages.

The district court judge granted the defendants’ motion, concluding that there was no sufficient proof of damage or causation other than the loss of chance of a lower rate of non-recurrence of cancer, which did not constitute a proper measure of damage at the time.
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In 2009, Gary Williamson was a postal worker who sought damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for medical malpractice on the part of the Department of Veteran Affairs in the treatment of injuries he suffered in his right foot. Williamson usually worked a walking route, walking up to 8 miles each day on the job. He was also doing other physical activities, including running and CrossFit, which could have contributed to the severity of his injury.

Because of his injuries, Williamson eventually received benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA): $79,379.66 in temporary total disability net compensation from March 20, 2010 through Oct. 25, 2012; $27,801.27 for medical expenses; and $19,974.19 as a lump-sum “scheduled award.” This federal statute is the federal law for workers injured on the job. This is the federal version of the workers’ compensation act that most states have, including Illinois.

In addition to the benefits he was receiving by way of FECA, Williamson sought damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act for medical malpractice by the V.A. for the treatment of his injuries, which included two unsuccessful surgeries. The U.S. District Court judge denied the government’s motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit reversed that order, denying the motion for summary judgment.
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Elizabeth McNamara was 63 when she underwent a right hip replacement that was done by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. David Weissberg. After the surgery, she developed right foot drop and was diagnosed as having an injured peroneal nerve.

McNamara continued to suffer the foot drop and numbness in her right leg — problems that caused her to fall and necessitated the use of a leg brace for walking and modifications to her car so that she was able to drive.

McNamara and her husband filed a lawsuit against Dr. Weissberg, maintaining that the nerve injury resulted from either his misplacement of a surgical retractor or application of excessive force on the right leg during the surgery.
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