Articles Posted in Hospital Errors

The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reversed a summary judgment in favor of the defendant Swedish Covenant Hospital and Dr. Kamal.

This wrongful death and survival action was brought by Shicheng Guo, special administrator for the estate of the deceased, Shiqian Bao. The complaint alleged that Bao was brought to Swedish Covenant’s emergency department after experiencing a severe headache. She underwent a CT scan.

A few hours after being discharged from Swedish Covenant, another doctor reviewed her CT scan and found signs of a brain bleed. Bao was called back to Swedish Covenant for treatment. She chose not to pursue further treatment at Swedish Covenant and instead immediately presented herself to the emergency department at Lutheran General Hospital. Doctors at Lutheran General did another series of tests but did not diagnose a brain bleed and discharged her from the hospital without treatment. Bao died three days later of an alleged brain hemorrhage.
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After undergoing a temporal artery biopsy on an outpatient basis by a general surgeon, Jacqueline Childs developed swelling and paralysis on the right side of her face. She was subsequently diagnosed as having facial nerve neuropathy.

Childs has undergone steroid injection treatments for her facial pain and will require monthly ketamine infusions for the remaining years of her life.

She was in her 50s at the time of the injury and has incurred more than $98,400 in past medical expenses.

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At issue in this case, which ended in the Idaho Supreme Court, was whether the jury’s verdict would stand. A medical malpractice lawsuit was brought by Leila Brauner against AHC of Boise d/b/a Aspen Transitional Rehab (Aspen). The lawsuit arose out of Aspen’s delay in sending Brauner to the hospital following her knee replacement surgery, which was a substantial factor resulting in the amputation of her right leg above the knee at mid-thigh.

After a jury trial, a verdict in favor of Brauner was signed by the jury in the amount of $2,265,204 in damages.

Aspen appealed, alleging that various pre-trial and post-trial rulings were in error and resulted in an unsustainable judgment.
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Audene Moxley was taken by an ambulance from her home to Piedmont Medical Center. A nurse determined that she was at high risk for developing pressure ulcers and ordered preventive measures, including repositioning the patient every two hours.

Over Moxley’s 9-day hospitalization at this facility, she was left in the same position for multiple hours on many occasions. Although a nurse noted that Moxley had a suspected deep tissue injury, the staff did not timely consult a wound care specialist. In addition, during Moxley’s hospitalization, she developed paralysis below the waist.

For the remainder of her life, Moxley continued to suffer from pressure ulcers and paralysis. After her death, Moxley was survived by her four adult children.
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Ronald Fairrow, 56, underwent an appendectomy at Riverside Methodist Hospital. The surgical resident, Dr. Alon Geva, and nurse Megan Conrad attempted to insert a urinary catheter but encountered resistance.

Dr. Geva and Conrad made several more attempts until another doctor came and properly inserted the catheter.

Several days after the appendectomy surgery, Fairrow suffered severe bleeding in his urethra and later underwent surgery to stop the blood flow. Fairrow was unable to urinate due to the urethral damage and required Foley and supra pubic catheters for several months until he underwent urethral reconstruction surgery.
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Vincent Lowe brought this medical malpractice lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Franklin County, Mo., against Bryan J. Menges, D.O. and James D. Cassat, M.D. and their employers, Mercy Hospital East Communities (“Mercy Hospital”) and Mercy Clinic East Community (“Mercy Clinic”). In the lawsuit, they alleged that as a result of these defendants’ choosing not to timely diagnose and treat the condition known as mesenteric ischemia, which caused inadequate blood supply to Lowe’s intestines, a substantial portion of his lower bowel had to be removed leaving him with short bowel syndrome, which will require extensive ongoing medical care.

At the jury trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Lowe for past and future economic and noneconomic damages totaling $14,245,545. The jury made comparative fault assessments of 65% to Dr. Menges and Mercy Hospitals, 25% to Dr. Cassat and Mercy Clinic and 10% to Lowe for a net verdict of $12,820,990.

Mercy took an appeal challenging the admission of the life care plan that was prepared and submitted into evidence by Lowe’s expert.
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Dwayne Kenney suffered a fractured left leg in a motorcycle crash. He underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery, which was performed by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Cyrus Kump II. Kenney suffered complications and, suspecting an infection, Dr. Kump removed the plates and screws from his leg approximately three months later. During that procedure, Dr. Kump was unable to close the skin over Kenney’s exposed tibia. Nevertheless, Dr. Kump ordered only dressing changes for the next four weeks, leaving the wound open to the air.

Six months later, a plastic surgeon attempted to cover Kenney’s exposed bone. Kenney contracted MRSA, osteomyelitis, and the procedure failed in less than two weeks. Several months after that, Kenney’s left leg required amputation. Although it was not reported, it may be assumed that the amputation was below the knee.

Kenney sued Dr. Kump and his practice alleging that Kump chose not to place an external fixator to stabilize the fractured tibia during the second surgery and decided not to timely consult a plastic surgeon to address an exposed tibia within five days of the procedure. The exposure of the bone to air led to the infection, which included osteomyelitis.
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Samuel Chifalo, 63, fell and hit his head. An ambulance crew arrived and put a cervical collar on before taking him to Parkview Medical Center.

At the hospital, the staff noted that Chifalo had difficulty moving his arms and legs. Nevertheless, emergency room physician Dr. Ashley Ostrand did not document this condition after doing a physical exam and recording Chifalo’s medical history. The doctor ordered CT scans of Chifalo’s neck and head and discharged him from the hospital with a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.

The next day, Chifalo was unable to walk and returned to the emergency room at the same hospital. This time Dr. Ostrand ordered MRIs of his head and cervical and thoracic spinal cord regions. Chifalo was then diagnosed as having a spinal cord injury at C3-4 with quadriparesis. Despite rehabilitation, Chifalo continued to suffer from paralysis.
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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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A hospital and doctor have agreed to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit filed by an Indiana mother whose baby sustained permanent brain damage during child birth in 2002.

The mother, K.C., on behalf of her daughter, filed the lawsuit in 2010 against Dr. Monique Jones and Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest. The plaintiff alleged that, when she went into labor, Jones acted negligently.

The lawsuit says Jones, who was the patient’s obstetrician, failed to recognize that the fetus was distressed. The doctor ordered or gave K.C. more Pitocin, a contraction-inducing drug. Increased contractions resulted in a loss of oxygen to the baby, and the baby suffered a permanent brain injury, according to the plaintiff’s suit.
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