$49.8 Million Jury Verdict for Negligent Extubation and Failure to Monitor

During an endoscopy procedure at a surgery center, Nicholas Merlo’s oxygen saturation declined. A surgery center employee called 911. Emergency medical crews from American Ambulance arrived. Merlo was intubated and transported to the nearest hospital.

Enroute to the hospital, paramedics in the ambulance allegedly noted that Merlo had no breath sounds on one side and that his oxygen levels had dropped. Multiple attempts to reintubate Merlo in the back of the ambulance were unsuccessful.

When Merlo did arrive at the hospital, he suffered cardiac arrest. That lack of oxygen resulted in hypoxic brain damage. Merlo, 39, is now in a permanent vegetative state.

At the time of Merlo’s injury, his wife was expecting their first child.

Merlo’s wife, individually, and on his behalf, sued American Ambulance alleging its paramedics were grossly negligent for pulling out Merlo’s endotracheal tube in the back of the ambulance and for choosing not to use end-tidal carbon dioxide monitoring to measure the level of his ventilation.

Instead of extubating Merlo, the Merlo family argued, the paramedics should have attempted to contact the hospital for proper procedures that may have been able to prevent Merlo’s permanent brain injury.

The jury signed a verdict for $49.8 million, which included $700,000 for past lost income and $10 million for loss of consortium.

The attorneys successfully handling this tragic case for the Merlo family were Daniel R. Baradat, Warren R. Paboojian and Adam B. Stirrup.

At trial, the Merlo family presented experts in life care planning and paramedics. The defense expert was in the field of pulmonology.

Merlo v. Pristine Surgery Center
, No. 18CECG03026 (Cal. Super. Ct. Fresno County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawsuits, traumatic brain injury cases, paramedical negligence lawsuits and medical malpractice cases 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 45 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Carol Stream, Geneva, Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Oak Park, Des Plaines, Schaumburg, Streamwood, Itasca, Chicago (Little Village, Brighton Park, Back of the Yards, Hyde Park, Wrigleyville, South Shore, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Englewood, Little Italy), Schiller Park, Wood Dale, Roselle, Mount Prospect and Evanston, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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