Articles Posted in Damages

Often we hear about large awards paid to patients who were injured in hospitals or other health care facilities. An unusually large award was announced in the case of a brain-damaged woman. It is something of a landmark award because of the amount of money involved. The city announced it planned to appeal the award.

A Bronx jury awarded about $120 million to a woman who has been incapacitated since she was treated at three New York hospitals in 2004.

The award, by a State Supreme Court jury, was made in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Jacqueline Martin by her mother. Martin suffered brain damage after a series of hospital visits in February 2004.
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Johnny Terrell Sledge, 24, suffered a gunshot wound to his back. He was taken to the DCH Regional Medical Center emergency room where an emergency room physician recognized the need for surgery.

On-call trauma surgeon Dr. Bradley Bilton was paged repeatedly but responded that he was in surgery and that someone else should be called to assist Sledge. The hospital staff could not locate another surgeon; Dr. Bolton was paged again.

Instead of coming to the emergency room after completing the surgical procedure that he was involved in, Dr. Bilton started a second elective surgery instead of coming to the aid of Sledge.
Unfortunately, Sledge died while waiting for an emergency laparotomy. He is survived by his family.
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In December 2015, the plaintiff, Michael Burke, who was then 73 years old, underwent a scheduled hernia repair at Northwestern Medicine-Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, Ill.

After this hernia repair surgery, his blood pressure dropped and he complained of severe abdominal pain. Burke’s family asked the surgeon, Dr. Stephen Goldman, to look in on Burke, but Dr. Goldman allegedly said that he would not do so until he was finished with other patients.

At about 6 p.m. that same day, Dr. Goldman performed an exploratory surgery and found Burke’s abdomen was full of blood. An hour later, Burke’s wife noticed her husband had weakness on the left side of his face, he was unable to fully open his left eye, his lip was drooping and his speech was slurred.
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Matthew Standley had a history of osteomyelitis, bone disease or bone infection, 14 knee surgeries, and numerous skin grafts and muscle harvests. When he experienced pain in his left knee, he consulted osteopathic orthopedic surgeon Dr. Melvyn Rech. Several weeks later, Dr. Rech performed a left knee arthroscopy, meniscectomy, a chondroplasty, and hardware removal.

Several months after these procedures, Dr. Rech performed a total knee replacement.

At Standley’s post-operative evaluation two weeks after the knee replacement, Dr. Rech prescribed Keflex, an anti-bacterial drug. Within two weeks, Standley went to a hospital emergency room, complaining of severe knee pain and drainage from the surgical site. Dr. Rech did not respond to several nurses’ calls, and Standley, 51, was subsequently admitted for treatment of cellulitis and a possible hardware infection.
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On May 6, 2019, the Illinois Appellate Court overturned a $25,000 settlement between a patient and doctor and revived a potentially far greater contribution claim brought against the doctor by the patient’s employer.

The original lawsuit stems from a Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) case wherein Antwon M. Ross sued the Illinois Central Railroad for damages when he was injured. Ross was a former freight conductor when he sued the Illinois Central Railroad alleging that he injured his head, neck, and back when he fell trying to board a train in January 2013.

Illinois Central then filed its claims against Dr. Sarmed G. Elias for medical malpractice alleging that his treatment was the cause of worsening injuries to Ross.
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Dawn Kali was 36 when she was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer. She was being treated by Robert Young at pH Miracle Living, an inpatient treatment center.

Kali flew to San Diego, where she paid more than $2,000 per night at the pH Miracle Living ranch. She also paid $500 for each round of an intravenous infusion treatment that was later learned consisted of baking soda. She did not pursue other cancer treatment. Her condition deteriorated. At the present time, Kali has been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer with just a four-year life expectancy.

Kali sued Young, alleging negligence and fraud. She presented testimony from pH Miracle Living’s accountant that she had overheard Young promise patients he could cure their cancer, even though Young was not a medical doctor. From the reporting of this case, it is not clear whether Young represented to individuals at pH Miracle Living that he was in fact an oncologist, a doctor or in the medical profession at all.
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Billy Pierce, 61, was admitted to East Texas Medical Center complaining of stomach pain and vomiting. Gastroenterologist Dr. Gary Boyd diagnosed bile duct stones, acute pancreatitis and cholangitis. Pierce developed sepsis and multi-organ failure. Another gastroenterologist evaluated Pierce and removed his bile duct stones. Pierce recovered after this surgical procedure but subsequently developed worsened cholangitis, which necessitated a liver transplant.

Pierce had been a senior vice president of a chemical company and was earning $900,000 per year, but he is now unable to work.

Pierce sued the hospital, Dr. Boyd and two other treating gastroenterologists. He alleged that the hospital negligently allowed Dr. Boyd to practice when the state medical board had suspended his medical privileges and that Dr. Boyd chose not to remove the bile duct stones, which led to sepsis and the multi-organ failure.
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The U.S. District Court judge in Chicago handled a bench trial medical malpractice case under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The result was a judgment in favor of a plaintiff that included $13.75 million in noneconomic damages for what the court described as “glaring” medical malpractice that caused the plaintiff to suffer “complete and irreversible failure of both kidneys.”

The U.S. District Court Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel denied the federal government’s motion for reconsideration.

The plaintiff, Kevin Clanton, spent 31 months on dialysis before receiving a kidney transplant. The court stated, “It is reasonably expected that Clanton will spend at least two decades on an extensive daily regimen of anti-rejection and immunosuppressive medications, he will endure two additional rounds of dialysis that will last at least 3-5 years each and he will undergo one, perhaps two more kidney transplants, not to mention periodic hospitalizations, counseling services and a dizzying array of medications, doctor appointments and lab tests.”
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Robert Suryadeth, 64, suffered from valvular heart disease. He was about to undergo outpatient surgery for his back problems. He met with an internist, Dr. Aruna Paspula, who had never before treated or seen Suryadeth.

Dr. Paspula did an electrocardiogram and listened to Suryadeth’s heart. Dr. Paspula cleared Suryadeth for surgery.

After the surgery, Suryadeth was discharged to go home. He died later that day. An autopsy showed that there were three blocked coronary arteries that undoubtedly were related to the cardiac arrest that caused his death. Suryadeth was survived by his wife and three children.
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Harriet Cook, 83, suffered from a degenerative spinal condition in her neck. A pain management specialist, Dr. Michael Rubeis, did a fluoroscopic cervical epidural injection to help with Cook’s pain symptoms. During the procedure, Cook complained of pain. Nevertheless, Dr. Rubeis continued.

Afterwards, Cook discovered that her arms and legs were paralyzed. Her left arm remained paralyzed, which prevented her from living independently as she did before the procedure. Before she passed away, Cook sued Dr. Rubeis’ group, alleging negligent performance of the epidural injection. Cook claimed that Dr. Rubeis chose not to ascertain the location of the needle, leading him to inject steroid solution directly into Cook’s spinal cord, breaching the dura and causing nerve damage.

The jury returned a verdict of $3.5 million. However, the parties settled for an undisclosed amount.