$110.6 Million Jury Verdict for Brain Damage to Patient for Failure to Treat Abnormal Carbon Dioxide Levels

Keimoneia Redish was a 40-year-old mother of five who suffered from asthma. When she experienced breathing difficulties, her partner took her to a hospital emergency department. Testing there showed that her carbon dioxide level was above normal at 57 mmol/L and that her pH level was 7.28, which is below normal and indicated mild hypercapnia and acidosis. Hypercapnia is a condition of abnormally elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood. Acidosis is a condition in the blood that causes the pH level to fall below the normal limit of 7.35.

Although steroids and other treatments over several hours were administered, Redish’s condition did not improve. She was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit, where an attending physician intubated her and placed her on a mechanical ventilator.

Her carbon dioxide level and pH remained stable but still out of range of normal. A pulmonologist later examined Redish and recommended that she continue the ventilator but also add Ketamine, which is a medication mainly used for starting and maintaining anesthesia. The pulmonologist indicated that if Redish’s condition did not improve, general anesthesia to relieve her bronchospasms would be recommended.

While in the operating room receiving inhalation anesthesia, Redish’s blood pressure plummeted. She was returned to the ICU and given fluids.

With all the fluids in her body, she gained 80 pounds from the fluid retention. Additionally, her carbon dioxide level went to 67, and her pH was 6.96. Both levels were alarming and life-threatening.

After receiving additional anesthesia treatments, Redish suffered a seizure and was diagnosed as having severe anoxic encephalopathy, which is the lack of oxygenated blood flow to the brain. She required 328 days of hospitalization and nursing home care. She now suffers from speech and motor deficits that prevent her from speaking clearly, walking, using her fingers, and lifting herself up due to the brain injury.

Redish’s medical expenses totaled approximately $700,000.

Redish sued four of her treating physicians and the hospital under a vicarious liability theory claiming they chose not to transfer her to another facility so that she could undergo extracorporeal membrane oxygenation to prevent buildup of and remove excess carbon dioxide, which would have prevented her from developing brain swelling that led to the seizure and the permanent brain damage. There was no claim for lost income.

Illinois follows the law of apparent authority made in the case of Gilbert v. Sycamore Municipal Hospital, 156 Ill. 2d 511 (1993) where the Illinois Supreme Court recognized hospitals may be liable for the negligence of non-employee, independent contractors.

They jury signed a verdict for approximately $110.6 million.

The attorneys successfully handling this tragic case were Richard A. Gurfein and Preston J. Douglas.

Redish v. Adler, No. 310294/2011 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Bronx County, April 12, 2019).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling traumatic brain injury lawsuits, medical negligence cases, hospital negligence lawsuits, birth trauma injury lawsuits, anesthesiology errors and cerebral palsy lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Northfield, Arlington Heights, Palatine, Barrington, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Lake Zurich, Deerfield, Half Day, Highwood, Libertyville, Lincolnwood, Chicago (West Ridge, Ravenswood, Irving Park, Albany Park, Lakeview East, Roscoe Village, Beverly, West Town, South Loop, Armour Square, Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Bronzeville, Fuller Park, Englewood, Chatham, Calumet Heights, Washington Heights, Morgan Park, Pullman), Evergreen Park, Burbank, Oaklawn and Chicago Ridge, Ill.

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